Kakamas and the surrounding towns in the Northern Cape are to be exempt from rolling blackouts. This comes as the area experiences a double crisis of electricty and water shedding. An ongoing heatwave has further added to the area’s woes.
Kakamas’ water woes began 13 days ago. Many residents have been forced to fill up their tanks at the Kakamas treatment works.
Kakamas resident Chris Rens transports water for himself, his family and his neighbours who are not fortunate enough to be able to fetch water.
“I got a big tank there, 610 litre tank. I am helping my neighbours, that’s why I am coming here. Sometimes on Saturdays I do three trips to fill the tank and help my neighbours,” stresses Rens.
Adding to their woes, are blocked drains which cause a stench during the heatwave.
Video: 7 people die in Kakamas, Northern Cape due to heatstroke this week
The Kai !Garib Municipality attributes the major problems to the electricity crisis. They say when there are rolling blackouts, the plant is unable to pump water.
According to the Acting Director of Planning and Development at the Kai !Garib Municipality Benny Kordom,”The main problem we are currently facing is the load shedding. During load shedding our water treatment plants cannot produce enough water for the whole town, especially Kakamas. Only a certain portion of the town gets water. Those in the higher areas don’t get enough water. But when there is no load shedding the plant use enough water for all the residents in Kakamas.”
Eskom has confirmed to the SABC that the municipality applied for a rolling blackouts exemption. They say they await a plan from the municipality.
Kordom says they will submit a plan to Eskom by Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Gift of the Givers intervened and provided water to the parched towns.
As a long-term solution, the municipality have applied to the Department of Water Affairs for funding to upgrade the water system.
Video: Parts of the Northern Cape to be exempted from rolling blackouts