Some residents in Limpopo’s Sekhukhune district say severe water shortages have given them little reason to celebrate on Human Rights Day, saying the government is violating their constitutional right to access clean drinking water.
The residents of Dikgalaopeng share the water from the fountains with the animals. They accuse the Sekhukhune District Municipality of not supplying them with water.
As the country commemorates Human Rights Day, thousands of residents, particularly in rural villages, still lack access to clean water.
The Bill of Rights constitutionally mandates the government to provide drinking water to residents. But that is not the case, as thousands of residents still share water with animals.
In Dikgalaopeng village in the Tafelkop area, residents have dug fountains to access water. Some dug fountains in their homes. Those fountains are their only source of water. At one fountain, water flows to it from a canal in a graveyard. Residents say they are experiencing difficulties due to a lack of access to clean water.
“It’s very hard because we can’t eat, we can’t bath, and we can’t do anything without water. We have got no water, it’s too hard. We don’t know about the celebration, please the government do as you can to make us get the water … We’re still suffering,” laments one resident.
Some residents use drums of about 100 liters to fetch water. They push them for distances of more than 500 meters from the water holes to their homes.
Another resident, Ephraim Mailula says he has approached the Sekhukhune district municipality for intervention on several occasions without success.
“They are not providing water to us even water tankers trucks are not coming, they closed water everywhere, and we don’t know where we are going. I went to the municipality asking for interventions many times,” another resident explains.
In response, Sekhukhune district municipality spokesperson, Maredi Kgetjepe has however blamed the illegal water connections as the problem exacerbating water scarcity in the area.
“We have a two-pronged approach to solve the water crises in Dikgaloepeng as a short-term relief measure, we are providing them with water tankering as a long-term measure. We have to deal with the illegal water connection and we are going to connect Dikgaloepeng and local Grobblersdal project,” says Kgetjepe.
Earlier this year, water affairs authorities in Limpopo opened a criminal case against the Mogalakwena local municipality in Mokopane after failing to provide clean water to residents. This was after residents complained to the department and the Human Rights Commission in the province.