Residents of Ventersburg in the Matjhabeng municipality are up in arms demanding water to flow from their taps. They says that they have been without water for two weeks.
They are now forced to walk long distances to fetch water from a nearby stream. Residents say they fear for their lives as cholera cases have been reported in the Free State.
Residents of Mamahabane in Ventersburg are faced with a dire situation after having no potable water for weeks.
Residents are not certain if the water is safe for human consumption, especially with cholera cases detected in the province. Many feel stripped of their dignity and human rights.
“As Mamahabane community, we are not happy, we drink the same water as pigs. We are crying for water.”
“Ever since the water has been closed here in Venter, the mayor says residents here don’t pay for services. Now we ask ourselves how are we going to pay for services we have not received.”
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The community of Mamahabane recently went on a rampage to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. They also blockaded the busy N1-stretch. For two years, residents have been having frequent water cuts, and say they will fight until their demands are met.
“Life is difficult without water, what is worse is that when the water is opened, you’ll find that some parts of the location have water while some don’t.”
“In our school, the children are suffering without water, and that poses health risks. Also in clinics, the situation is the same.”
“We as parents struggle a lot when the children have to go to school and have to cook. We are now forced to use wet wipes to save the little water we have.”
The Matjhabeng Municipality owes the water board, Bloem Water, about R4 billion. Bloem Water has set aside R50 million to improve the infrastructure.
The municipality says it will embark on Operation Patala in a bid to make residents pay for services.
Matjhabeng municipal mayor, Thanduxolo Khalipha, says they have also written to Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, to intervene.
“We don’t have a budget to deal with those issues because the problem is not on our side, the problem is with Bloem Water. The infrastructure that is having challenges is on the side of Bloem Water, it’s not on our side. The challenge on our side is the payment of services.”
As a temporary measure, the municipality has appointed a contractor to dig a borehole in the area but it’s unclear when a permanent solution will be found.