Health-e (Cape Town)

South Africa: Water Restored to Matavhela and Mufulwi

Villagers from Matavhela and Mufulwi have had their tap water supplies restored after alerting OurHealth that they had to rely on unsafe rain and river water.

Two weeks ago OurHealth reported on the woes of the fed-up villagers who have been without clean water for about two months.

"We have no choice but to use this water from the rain because, other than this [rain] water, we have no other water," 48-year-old Elisa Masithi told OurHealth at the time.

When rain was scarce, the community was forced to fetch water from the nearby river where people also wash their clothes. "The water we use from the river when we have no water in our taps is not clean and that is very bad for our health because the water has germs," said Mulalo Netshitandani from Mufulwi village.

Villagers said at the time that they had made attempts to get an explanation from the councillor who has turned a blind eye to their concerns. Both the ward councillor and the municipality refused to comment on the water issue when OurHealth questioned them.

However, when OurHealth visited the villages this week, residents were celebrating.

Aifheli Nduvheni from Mufulwi village was happy that their local municipality had finally heard their pleas.

"Even though it took them a very long time, two-and-a-half months to give us proper water, I am very happy and excited because now I am using clean and healthy water coming out of our taps," said Nduvheni.

Mulalo Netshitandani was just as relieved. "I am overwhelmed that we are getting water from our taps again. We are now happy to not be scared of ever getting infected by the germs from rain and river water. I am happy in such a way that I'm even running out of words to say,” said Netshitandani, also from Mufulwi.

At Matavhela Clinic, which serves both villages, junior staff nurse Mashudu Nekhavhambe said they were pleased with the developments.

“It is a good thing to know that our patients are safe and they are using clean water because that is good for their health," she said.

This time, the local councilor Thambatshira Musinvali was happy to comment.

"If the community is happy, so are we. We try by all means to be able to provide our people with clean water but it happens that sometimes the engine (pump) is not working very well and it takes time to fix it,” he said.

Musinvali said it was untrue that they did not take the crisis seriously.

“It is only because we have so many villages to serve and as the municipality we have to serve each and every village", he said.

Masithi was at a loss for words.

"I actually don’t know what to say because I had already given up about ever getting clean water from the tap. I am now happy to say that our councillor takes us seriously, it is just that it takes time but if he keeps on doing this great work for us, we are going to be happy forever," she said.

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