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DA demands answers after numerous schools in uThukela reopen without water

The DA in uThukela has written a letter to the Department of Education after many schools in the district opens without water. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

The DA in uThukela has written a letter to the Department of Education after many schools in the district opens without water. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 22, 2023

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Durban — The DA in uThukela District has written to KwaZulu-Natal MEC Mbali Frazer requesting that urgent attention be given to water outages affecting many schools in the area.

Schools in uThukela were without water on Wednesday, the first day of the new school year.

The DA letter, marked Request for urgent intervention around water provision to schools in the greater uThukela, stated that a sampling revealed that most schools had either no water or contaminated water deemed unfit for consumption.

According to the DA, the sample of schools included Aloe Park and Ladysmith Secondary schools along with schools in Winterton and Estcourt.

The letter states:

  1. Winterton Primary is reported to have water that is unfit for human consumption. It is alleged that the parents were asked to provide pupils with drinkable water; however, most parents are in the same geographical area where their home water is also contaminated.
  2. Aloe Park Primary and Ladysmith secondary, two schools adjacent with a combined 2 500 pupils. They have installed some buffer bulk water capacity, but allegedly also runs empty on a daily basis.
  3. St Gregory Primary School in Estcourt with 170 pupils that are without water.

It was stated that communities in Roosboom outside Ladysmith continued to block arterial roads including the R103 in protest against a water outage that has lasted for weeks.

DA uThukela chairperson councillor Thys Janse van Rensburg said there challenges surrounding the provision of safe drinking water in most uThukela regions .

Van Rensburg said it was no surprise that the failure of the uThukela District Municipality to provide water to its communities was now having a major effect on the functionality of schools and education systems.

He added that the fact that the uThukela District Municipality region had “the wettest rainfall years in decades” seemed to elude the governing IFP.

“The water network is in a state of collapse. After their first year in government, residents are acting out in anger as they have failed to improve upon the decade of mismanagement under the ANC that led before them.

“Residents and learners in the district are casting their gaze down the road to our neighbouring uMgeni where the DA government is showing how a municipality can be turned around, in record time if the political will revolves around the betterment of its people," said Van Rensburg.

He said it had become clear that the IFP in uThukela could not afford to provide water and sanitation.

“Pair this with the reopening of schools and the current heatwave being experienced, and one could only imagine the difficulties teachers must endure on an hourly basis," said Van Rensburg.

Below are the action steps that the DA requests MEC Frazer should consider:

  • To establish the full scope of the problem by conducting an urgent enquiry with all the urban, peri-urban and rural schools in the uThukela Region.
  • Share the results with relevant stakeholders, including uThukela District Municipality.
  • An urgent action plan with measurable steps be formulated, and spearheaded by the department to ensure potable water provision to all schools.
  • Take any action necessary to ensure education can continue in a dignified and effective manner.

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