One of the streets leading towards Somlingo Primary School in Verena in Mpumalanga, which were barricaded by a group of residents protesting over a lack of water on Wednesday morning, but partially opened in the afternoon. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

Verena Village - There was a lot of fear among a number of parents in Verena Village near Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga on Wednesday after a group of residents barricaded the main roads and streets leading up to a local primary school in a protest over a lack of water.

“The protesters said they would remove our kids from school today. I accompanied my son to school and came back home, but I cannot stop thinking about his safety,” said resident Linah Mashiyane. 

She said her son was a grade 1 learner at Somlingo Primary School, about 600 metres away from her house. When African News Agency (ANA) arrived in Verena on Wednesday morning, a few streets leading towards Somlingo Primary School were barricaded with rocks and other debris.

Parents of some of these learners at Somlingo Primary School in Verena in Mpumalanga are worried about the safety of their kids due to the violent protest over a lack of water. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

A group of learners were playing on Somlingo Primary School’s premises, while a security guard stood near a closed gate.

Linah Mashiyane told ANA a tap in her yard became dry in November last year.

Resident Thembi Mashiyane points at a dry tap at her home in Verena in Mpumalanga. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

“I’m unemployed but have to buy water every week from another resident who has borehole in his yard,” she said.

Another resident and community leader, Korombo Mahlangu, said he reported the problem to the municipality towards the end of December last year.

“Life is tough. Water sometimes comes out of the taps for 20 minutes once a day,” said Mahlangu.

Spokeswoman for the Thembisile Local Municipality Simphiwe Mashiyane said on Wednesday the water supply problem to Verena started a week before Christmas, adding it was caused by a broken pipe. She pointed out, however, that the whole municipality was faced with a water shortage problem.

“We are dealing with the problem and have resolved to provide water to all villages an occasional basis at different times,” said Simphiwe Mashiyane.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Sergeant Gerald Sedibe said eight people were arrested and charged with public violence in connection with the protest.

The R544 Road in Verena in Mpumalanga was barricaded with burning tyres by a group of residents who were protesting over a lack of water. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

“The situation is now back to normal but I don’t know if the roads have been opened,” said Sedibe.

African News Agency/ANA