Lack of water hits schools very hard

A NUMBER of pupils in Mpumalanga, especially in the far-flung rural Bushbuckridge area, continue to suffer due to a lack of water at their schools.

This is despite the fact that the local municipality is fully aware of the dire situation.

A Sowetan investigation yesterday established that some schools even have water tanks that are empty.

Pupils at the Nyamande High School at Marry People Stream village near Thulamahashe said they were frustrated by the situation.

Xolani Dlamini, 16, a Grade 8 pupil at the school, said the jojo tanks at their school were built more than a year ago but held water for less than a month before they went dry.

"We are forced to bring our own water or buy it from the women who sell fruit outside the school," Dlamini said.

This was echoed by two other pupils, Vusi Dlamini, 17, and Patrick Vumba, 17, who said the water problem not only affected their school but the whole village.

"Sometimes we come to school smelling bad because we could not bath in the morning due to a lack of water.

"Were I was the government I would immediately make sure that water tanks are sent to the village and school while trying to sort out service delivery problems. But it is a pity because I'm not the government," Vumba said.

He said it was very difficult for anyone to tolerate the bad odour from some pupils who could not bath before coming to school.

"Instead of thinking about lessons we start concentrating on how bad some pupils smell because of a lack of water. This is disturbs us and we do not know who to tell," Vumba said.

Matome Malatjie, the Bushbuckridge municipality spokesperson, told Sowetan that the municipality was aware of the water shortage in the area. "We are aware of the state of affairs and are trying our best to provide jojo tanks to all the places with water problems," Malatjie said yesterday.

"We appeal to the community to interact with their local councillors who will immediately make us aware of their plight," she said.