Village Taps run dry despite R30 m budget

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Villagers in Botlokwa and surrounding areas who have been without water for years have blamed the local Molemole municipality for not making water provision a priority.

So serious is the situation that they have had to buy water from fellow villagers who own boreholes.

Sowetan has learnt that the problem started four years ago.

Residents claimed that tap water had been available in most of the villages but that the municipality had allegedly disconnected the pipes "for no apparent reason".

Community leader Vusi Ramusi confirmed yesterday that Dipatene, Springs, Mphakane, Dikgading, GaPodu, Polatla, Mohodi and Matseke villages have been affected by the water crisis.

He said villagers were also forced to buy from people with trucks and tractors selling water in the area.

He said the impoverished villagers paid R15 for eight 25-litre drums.

"The municipality has not taken the water shortage seriously since it started four years ago," said Ramusi.

He said municipal officials lived in luxury and had installed boreholes at their homes while the communities suffered.

"The municipality must know that it is its primary objective to provide water to the community.

"The people who are now suffering are those who voted the officials into power.

"The officials must vacate their offices and give way to others who will care for us. They certainly do not. They don't care about us. If they don't look after us we will not vote in the coming elections," said a vocal Ramusi.

Calvin Matjee, a DA councillor in the Molemole municipality, said R30million had been spent towards providing water in the area but no water had been made available to the communities. He said the plan established in 2000 stipulated that every household should have running water "but only some of the households have water, and only on specific days".

Spokesman for the municipality, Timothy Molopa, yesterday acknowledged the general scarcity of water. He said this was because water-pumping machines were stolen in at least four villages.

"We have secured four tankers from the Capricorn municipality to supply water to the villages," he said.