8 September 2017

South Africa: Water Department Calls for Calm At Sheepmoor

The Department of Water and Sanitation has called for peace and calm in Sheepmoor, Mpumalanga, following a protest over water shortages.

The community, which has shut down schooling in the area, is protesting at the Kliphoek Pump Station, which is about five kilometre away from the community.

The department has explained that the Kliphoek station is only used for the bulk transfer of raw water to Eskom, Sasol and other entities.

"The department would like to indicate to the community, especially at Sheepmoor, that the Kliphoek Pump Station does not supply water directly to the community and it does not have the required infrastructure in place to do so," spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said on Friday.

The department is calling for peace and calm in the community, as the current situation is resulting in Kliphoek Pump Station departmental officials not being able to get to work, thus negatively affecting pumping operations.

The department, according to Ratau, will engage with Gert Sibande District Municipality and community representatives in resolving the matter.

Ratau said the boreholes installed by the municipality will, as per season, run dry in winter due to lack of rain and thus the water table will go down.

"Msukaligwa Municipality is making temporary arrangements to supply the community with water tankers and also address the condition of the tankers. Weekly or bi-weekly laboratory testing of this water will be performed to ensure the community is drinking safe and clean water."

Another reality is that at the moment, there is no water abstraction from the adjacent stream as it is dry, said Ratau.

He urged the community to allow the resumption of schooling as soon as possible while the outstanding issues continue to be addressed.

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