Water crisis in townships

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

It is a crisis.

There is not enough water to cater for tens of thousands of Mpumalanga households.

And the company that provides water to these townships, Silulumanzi, says there is nothing much it can do about the situation.

The affected townships include KaNyamazane, KaBokweni, Msogwaba, Daantjie and Zwelisha.

Silulumanzi spokesperson Richmond Jele blamed Bushbuckridge Water Board (BWB) for the shortage, accusing them of supplying an amount far below the required quota allocation.

"It is worth noting that in Nelspruit, where we control the water purification and distribution process, problems of water shortages are totally unheard of.

"The same applies to Tekwane North and Matsulu," he said.

Jele said they were experiencing significant shortages of bulk water supplied by BWB because of the breakdown of three of the five pumps that draw water from the Crocodile River into the water treatment plant in KaNyamazane.

"For the past four weeks there were only two pumps working while parts to repair the other pumps had not been delivered," Jele said.

"The type of pumps being used were installed over 10 years ago and we have been informed that four new modern pumps had been ordered and were likely to be delivered in 19 weeks," he said.

"As a result, water supply to about 250000 people around Mbombela will be cut from 9am until 4pm and from 10pm to 4am daily," he said.

But residents complain that when the water starts running in the evening it has a bad smell and brown sediment.

The residents say they are forced to use the sullied water for their daily needs, including cooking and drinking.

"This intolerable situation has been going on for nearly a year," said Bheki Memela of KaNyamazane.

"We are shocked that our water is still being cut daily because we thought with elections around the corner, authorities would act.

"We use water system toilets here and you can imagine what we go through every time taps run dry," Memela said.

Jele said the quality of the water in the area has not deteriorated and is the same as it came from the same source - the water treatment works operated by Bushbuckridge Water Board.