Residents in the Dikgatlong Municipality in Barkly West in the Northern Cape say they have been experiencing poor service delivery for years. Phelindaba Township, Smith’s Mine and Haak and Steek informal settlements are among the areas that have no basic services. Residents in those areas have no water, electricity, proper roads and sanitation.
In 2022, SABC News visited the communities to document the appalling living conditions.
For almost 20 years, residents of Smith’s Mine have had no proper sanitation. They rely on dilapidated pit latrines and a nearby veld to relieve themselves. Residents say they also have no running water – which forces them to get water from the same source as animals.
“We are just drinking dirt. Especially the kids have diarrhea because of the dirty water,” expresses one resident.
“In reality we don’t have toilets. The municipality is only providing movable toilets which trap germs inside. We want the Department of Water and Sanitation to intervene in this matter,” says another frustrated resident.
In response to complaints by Smith’s Mine residents – Dikgatlong Acting Municipal Manager – Baki Tsinyane – previously defended the municipality.
“In 2021, we implemented a project where we provided the water purification package plant. We are implementing phase two of dry santitation toilets, which is a project that is approved by the Department of Water and Sanitation. The department approved the funding for 200 units in the current financial year. Smith’s Mine will be considered when we’re implementing phase three of the project,” says the municipal manager.
Other residents that feel let down by the Dikgatlong Municipality are in the Phelindaba Township. For more than 10 years – the community of about 50 households has been getting water from one tap, which is situated kilometres from their homes. The residents say not having access to tap water in their homes is a struggle.
“We have to travel a long distance to come get water. Even when it is dark, we don’t have a choice and er are elderly people”
“The municipality and councillors must provide water to the people and not lie to us. The only know people when they want votes”, the residents say.
Regarding the demands of Phelindaba residents – the Dikgatlong Municipality insisted that it is on top of the issue.
“The residents were informed that the municipality has a plan to install additional aps in the area once material is delivered. In the current financial year, we have made no provisions for household connections”, argued Tsinyane.
Months later – residents say this has not materialised.
Northern Cape Township waits over 10 years for household taps:
Haak and Steek Informal Settlement
Meanwhile, Haak and Steek informal settlement is another area in the Dikgatlong Municipality with no running water, proper sanitation and electricity. The roads in the area are also in a poor state. This has left residents pleading for help.
“We need water, toilets and roads, so please help us”, pleads a resident.
“Ambulances can’t go in because there are no proper roads in place to fetch our people when they are sick. Another issue is the potholes and people can’t get inside the community because they have to manoeuvre around the potholes” says a concerned resident.
The Dikgatlong Municipality failed to respond to queries about how they will help the Haak and Steek community. However, residents of these three areas are clear that they are tired of false promises from the Municipality.
They are all hoping for their cries to be heard this year, after years of exclusion.
Basic services still a challenge for Dikgatlong residents: