water crisis deepens

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

A brand new water tank burst and fell apart, spilling all the water and nearly killing women and children.

This "unbelievable" incident happened at Cottondale near Acornhoek, Mpumalanga, where three grannies had drowned in January last year while drawing water from wells.

Community members have blamed the Bushbuckridge municipality for failing to supply water TO the area with an estimated population of 100000 people.

They claimed that the municipality was ignoring the residents because executive mayor Milton Morema was at loggerheads with the councillor of the affected ward, Albert Khoza.

Sowetan ran a story about the three dead grannies on July 15, and it took the municipality almost a month to ensure that the residents accessed clean water.

A green water tank was erected in the area on Monday, and was filled with water. But minutes after the tank was filled, it burst and collapsed.

When Sowetan arrived at the scene on Monday frustrated residents were still waiting helplessly with their empty containers, apparently hoping that a miracle would happen.

"We thought the municipality had heard our cries at last, but unfortunately it's back to square one following the bursting and collapse of the tank," said Christine Mahlangu, a member of the community.

"How could they bring a cheap tank? We will have to continue relying on wells that are very dangerous. Three grannies have already drowned in the wells."

Pauline Ndubane, 75, Flora Malatjie, 61, and Saliah Sibuyi, 70, all drowned in the wells.

Municipality spokesman Matome Malatjie failed to answer repeated calls but had previously denied that the lack of services, especially water, in the area was caused by a rift between Khoza and Morema.