13 September 2017

South Africa: Maritzburg Township Has Only One Working Tap

Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane/GroundUp
Containers are left standing as residents of Ezinketheni in Pietermaritzburg wait for water to return to the one functioning tap.

Residents of Ezinketheni in Pietermaritzburg travel long distances and wait in long queues to get water. The township has only four communal taps to supply hundreds of residents and three of those are not working. To avoid the queues, some residents fetch water from the one working tap late at night.

"I travel about 5km with a baby on my back and a wheelbarrow with three 25-litre containers every day, whether it is hot or cold. That water lasts for a day and I have to wake up the next day and do the same," says Skholiwe Mahlaba.

She says sometimes no water comes out of the tap and she has to wait for hours so as not to lose her place in the queue. When there is water, the pressure is low and it takes several minutes for each person to fill their container.

Water comes from a reservoir built three years ago that supplies Hayfields, Haniville and Ezinketheni.

A resident said that a second reservoir was meant to be built, but the land had been occupied.

Dumi Zwane said: "The water issue has been a long term concern but not even once we have seen or heard from the ward councillor."

Ward 30 Councillor Renesha Jugmohan said the system was installed to work only with Jojo tanks. She said people had connected individual yards to the water pipes and this meant the higher placed tanks could not fill.

Msunduzi municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said, "The municipality is dealing with the matter of Ezinketheni and other locations facing water challenges. Water tankers will be sent to the community if there is a water shortage. We must also advise residents to use water cautiously as there is a shortage, and water reduction will be taking place."

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