Residents of Klipvoor village, outside Brits, in the Madibeng Municipality in North West, are spending the festive season without water. They have been without water since the country went into COVID-19 lockdown in March this year.

SA on lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus:

This is after municipal officials allegedly disconnected and seized three generators that villagers were using to pump water from the boreholes. Residents now want to lay criminal charges against the officials.

The officials reportedly claimed to be taking the generators for service. Residents say the generators are yet to be re-installed.

They are now drawing water from the contaminated Moretele River while some depend on the occasional rainfall. They say a water tanker that is occasionally assigned to deliver water only reaches a few households.

A father of three, Eliot Ngobeni, is pleading with the government to intervene.

“There’s no water. We are suffering so much. Since lockdown, the municipality was bringing trucks, but now we don’t have water. They don’t tell us why. They don’t call meetings to tell us why don’t we get water. We are suffering here. We only get water from the neighbours, those who have boreholes. And others, we go to the farms there to fetch water. You cannot wash or cook. Nothing can happen without water because water is life and there’s no life without water.”

Residents of the Madibeng Municipality have been struggling to get water:

Numerous efforts to get comment from the Madibeng Local Municipality were unsuccessful. However, the North West Cogta MEC Mmoloki Cwaile insists that the supply of water to communities remains the responsibility of the municipality.

“You would realise that the Madibeng is a local water authority, which means if there’s a regional bulk infrastructure grant it will go to them. If there’s water service infrastructure grant, it will go directly to them. And how they use it’s a problem. But most importantly, we must remember that the water supply is not necessarily the responsibility of the provincial government. It is the responsibility of the national department.”

Residents of sprawling Letlhabile township have also not been spared from water shortage problems. Their water is contaminated and undrinkable.

Residents say this has been reported to the Madibeng municipal authorities who have failed to come up with a solution. In the meantime, the affected residents are calling on the presidency to intervene.