Six water tank stands and 50 toilets vandalised in Stellenbosch

Clean water is vital in the fight against Covid-19. File photo.
Clean water is vital in the fight against Covid-19. File photo.
Image: Mpumelelo Buthelezi

The department of water & sanitation has condemned the destruction of water tank stands in Stellenbosch by people demanding food parcels.

Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said: “Such acts are unfortunate and misplaced. Even though they may have been done out of frustration, they are acts of vandalism and are therefore criminal. Water infrastructure, in fact all infrastructure, is meant for the greater good of communities. Vandalising one form to make a case for another type of infrastructure is not helpful.

“Right now the most important need for the country is to reduce all possibilities of infection by the coronavirus. Vandalism of water infrastructure meant to enhance the chances of limiting the spread of infections will not in any way help to flatten the curve,” he said.

On April 17, the Stellenbosch municipality said six new water tanks and 50 new toilets scheduled for installation in Langrug had to be delayed “due to criminals who damaged water equipment and tank stands” the night before.

“These acts of sabotage jeopardise the health and safety of the entire community during this global pandemic,” it said.

A reward was announced for the successful conviction of the culprits.

Ratau said this behaviour

delayed progress as the department or government had to retrace steps.

“The time it takes to replace or refurbish damaged or vandalised infrastructure could have been used to reach more people who need help,” he said.

Ratau said as of April 20 7,698 water tanks had been installed across the country, and 1,239 water tankers [trucks] had been delivered.

“These figures are moving targets which change daily as more deliveries are made,” he said.

The department said the demand for water grows weekly in the Northern Cape.

On Thursday the department said it had delivered 664 water tanks out of the 826 allocated and 70 water trucks out of the 84 allocated to the Northern Cape.

The department’s acting provincial head, Kobus Streuders, said the department was stepping up the pace at which tanks were installed.

He said it took time to construct a brick and cement base. “It takes two to three days for the structure to dry before it is ready for the tank to be set up and become operational.

“Another option we are using is a steel base, which is quicker to assemble,” Streuders said.

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