Access to clean, running water remains a challenge for residents of Rolle village, outside Bushbuckridge, in Mpumalanga. This despite a multi-million rand pipeline construction project in the area.

The project was completed four years ago. However, locals say they last saw water from their taps prior to the start of construction.

Lack of water is a daily struggle for 82-year-old Albert Ndaba. This despite living a stone’s throw away from this newly-constructed water reservoir. A total of R22-million was paid for the project.

Ndaba was hopeful that the project would improve water provision. “We had water before but they damaged the pipes and ever since that time we don’t have water after the contractor left I never had water.”

Other residents say their taps had water before the contractor started the project. Residents are calling on the municipality to bring the contractor back to fix the water reticulation or to return the funds paid.

“The project was a pipeline one. They told us they were just gonna do the project and put meters from the municipality. The only problem that happened was they got us with pipelines we had before. There was a lot of water after they were done with their project. Everything was down even the new pipes and old ones are not giving us water.”

“We tried to talk to the municipality however they told us that they don’t interfere when the contractor is still working when they were done, we went back there again they didn’t give us answers and until now they are not responding.”

The Bushbuckridge Local Municipality’s Spokesperson Claiton Khosa says residents tempered with the pipeline.

“The reason for it could be the tempering which is illegal connections, however, the munici[ality will send the distribution team to look go and look into the matter.”

The municipality is currently hosting public participation hearings on water by-laws. Tempering with water supply infrastructure is a criminal offense.

Mpumalanga hosts two-day water conference to solve water scarcity: