water crisis: MANY suffer

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

Thousands of Ekangala households near Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, have been without running water for almost six months.

This after continuous heavy rains had eroded the roads and damaged water pipes in most sections since late October last year.

Ekangala is in Mpumalanga but owing to crossborder municipalities its administration falls under Kungwini local municipality in Bronkhorstspruit.

The majority of affected sections are in the informal settlement, with about 4000 households.

These families have also been cut off from public transport because their main taxi route - a gravel road - has been damaged by heavy rains.

Sowetan visited the area and found most areas extensively damaged. Those interviewed said they were forced to travel long distances to fetch water.

Several elderly women were found doing their washing in the veld next to a burst water pipe.

"It is better for us to do our washing here than to carry water in buckets back to our homes more than a kilometre away," they said.

Their plight was reported to local councillor Victor Mabelane but nothing had been done since the matter was first reported last year.

"The issue is being addressed as we speak," Mabelane said. "Workers are busy closing the trenches and repairing the pipes."

But residents accused Mabelane of being incompetent, saying he should have acted when the matter was first reported.