Residents of Qunu, the birthplace of the late former president Nelson Mandela, have been without a clean water supply for months. Water is a basic need and everyone has a right to clean drinking water, but residents in the village of Qunu in Mthatha have had to find other means to get the commodity. Their taps have been dry for the past eight months.

Residents have now resorted to fetching water from unclean water sources, which they share with animals.

“We don’t have water here. We get it from the river. But the people we vote for lie and say they do everything for us. We even experience constant power outages. Sometimes we sleep on empty stomach here in Qunu. We are struggling in this village of Dalibhunga,” says a resident.

“It’s been seven months without water. When we go to other places out of Mthatha and we tell people that we are from Qunu, they think we come from rich families, while we are as poor as everyone else. The water we drink from the river is full of diapers here,” another resident says.

“Here in Qunu, we struggle to get water. We fetch it from the river so we can do our laundry, then we depend on water tanks for drinking,” a resident said.

The OR Tambo District Municipality, which is responsible for water provision, is working on fixing the challenge.

“There was a challenge of water challenge in the area because of an electricity issue between us as a district municipality and Eskom. The matter was, however, later resolved and water was restored to the community and the community had water access until recently. The recent water outage is caused by a faulty valve that we have ordered as the municipality, and once it arrives, we will fix the system,” explains Zimkhitha Macingwane.

Water supply in the OR Tambo District has been an issue for a long time. This despite government’s multi-billion rand funding, meant for infrastructural development in the district.