Relief for Mpumalanga residents after years of water struggle

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Residents of Jerusalem, north of White River in Mpumalanga, will now have clean drinking water following the drilling of six boreholes in the area by the Water Affairs and Sanitation Department. This is to ensure that communities have access to clean water, a key ingredient in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

In the video below, access to clean water, safe sanitation and basic healthcare critical in the fight against COVID-19:

More than 200 households will now have access to clean running water. Water Affairs and Sanitation Deputy Minister David Mahlobo handed over the boreholes.

Residents used to rely on water tankers. One of the residents Sifiso Khumalo says they’ve struggled with water provision for many years.

“We have been struggling with water; it has been years that we don’t have water in this community. It’s almost 15 years we don’t have water, we were using water tankers most of the time; sometimes once or twice a week and it was not enough. From today, we are very thankful. This project was on short time base, but was finished and we are very surprise and we are thankful.”

City of Mbombela Mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi has urged the residents to take care of the water infrastructure. Mathonsi is concerned about people who temper with the boreholes to generate income.

“There is a concerted effort; it seems like is a syndicate of people, either those who are providing the service, who supply us with the valves and other materials, who would come and damage so that we can call them to come and repair. The other thing is the people who are water tinkering, which we think they are involved somehow, because they know that if the system is sabotaged, we will rely on them and we will call them to come in. But our biggest appeal is that we call upon the communities, everybody in the community, to safeguard the boreholes because they are targeting the boreholes.”

In the video below, SABC’s Siphephile Kunene speaks to Mahlobo:

Mahlobo says his department is to embark on a massive rollout to help the struggling municipalities with water provision.

“We are rolling out a temporary relief to all the municipalities that are under stress that they need to be supported. The temporary relief that we are giving in the number municipalities, we are proving storage tanks for the communities that don’t have water at all. It is actually stored in the storage tanks. The same thing that we are doing with the province of Mpumalanga, we are also providing water cutting which is called the water trucks they being distributed all over the country through the Minister.”

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mpumalanga

Meanwhile, Mpumalanga Premier Refiloe Mtsweni-Tsipane announced that there are 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the province.

“As things stands, we have got 15 COVID-19 patients that tested positive now. We have had the outcry of our people throughout the province saying ‘yes we are committed, we understand the plight of government in relation to fight this pandemic, but our challenge is we don’t have water.”

“That is a genuine concern raised by our community as we all know that we are water scarce province as Mpumalanga, but we could sit back and fold our arms. We then came up with intervention strategies; we are here in Jerusalem to open six boreholes that have been established in this areas so that there sufficient provision of water within this area,” Mtsweni-Tsipane says.

Deputy Minister Mahlobo and the Premier also handed over Jojo tanks to the community of Bushbuckridge, who are also faced with water shortages.