Drought-hit residents forced to buy ‘illegal’ water

By Thami Magubane Time of article published Nov 17, 2016

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Durban - Residents in the drought-stricken kwaMsani Township in Mtubatuba are spending a fortune buying water illegally drawn from the “dry” Mfolozi River by water dealers.

They said they spent a minimum of R600 per Jojo tank which could last a few days to a week depending on the usage. The dealers are doing a roaring trade as almost every second home in the township now has a Jojo tank.

Earlier this year, the community went on the rampage and burned a community hall after they had been without water for a few weeks.

“We go without water for weeks at a time and since the drought began, I have never seen a water tanker delivering in this area. We buy our own water for R600 a Jojo tank or from one communal tap that supplies the township,” said a community member who declined to be named. This tap was installed by the Chinese; it never runs out unless there is no electricity. The whole of this township survives on this water.”

He said life was hard in the township. “If you want to use the bathroom, you have to go and collect water with a bucket so as to flush.”

A local pastor, Anglican church Archdeacon Andreas Mazibuko, said his parish had spent thousands of rand buying water. “I do not drink it because I don’t trust it, so I have to buy more water for drinking.”

He said they never saw water tankers in the area. “I have heard they deliver in other parts of the township.”

uMkhanyakude District Municipality spokesman Mduduzi Dlamini conceded that there was a shortage of water tankers, saying the national Department of Water Affairs had withdrawn five. He said the municipality would deal with the private individuals who were selling water.

Regarding allegations that water was being illegally drawn from the Mfolozi River, he said the municipality was forced to drive 100km to the Mkhuze river to draw water, as the Mfolozi was dry.

“That is why there is the continued interruption with the supply of water to the Mtuba area,” he said.

The Mercury

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