Frustrated residents in ward 19 on Monday barricaded Montshiwa Road in Galeshewe with large boulders, a tree stump and empty buckets as the city-wide water shutdown entered its fourth day.
Tempers reached boiling point as the water shutdown was extended to longer than what was expected.
“The municipality should have informed us in advance that the water would be off for so long. All our supplies have run out. We don’t want to see the faces of the politicians or the mayor, they must just give us water,” the residents said.
They stated that they had had no water since the supply was shut down on Thursday night.
“It is a disaster and no one cares about us. We haven’t been supplied with a JoJo tank in our area and the other water tanks are too far. Whenever there are water cuts they forget about us and there are a lot of us staying here.
“Our children will get raped and robbed while collecting water. The people steal our buckets if they see it is a small child carrying the water. Our babies have not eaten, we cannot cook, wash, flush the toilet or drink our medication. They can send us 60 litres and we will all share the water.”
One resident, Thato Akime, added that he was unable to conduct his business of washing cars.
“If I don’t earn a living I will have to steal or beg. I haven’t eaten for the whole day as there has been no water,” said Akime.
Christelle Louw and Kesenogile Mgijima indicated that their babies, who are nine months and one years old, were unable to drink their formula as there was no water to mix with it.
Mgijima said that her baby was suffering from diarrhoea after she had bought sweet milk for her to drink from a tuck shop.
Nthabiseng Mokhale pointed out that both she and the ward councillor were running from pillar to post in an attempt to source a JoJo tank for the community.
“It has been an uphill battle and we were struggling the whole day to get hold of the mayor and municipal manager.”
She added that after one water tank was finally brought in at about 6pm, it was immediately emptied by thirsty residents.
Manager in the Office of the Mayor, George Mosimane, explained that they had immediately sent out a truck when it was brought to their attention, following the blockading of the road.
“There were logistical problems with the planning, where it appears that a distribution point for ward 19 was not included due to an administrative error, despite being assured that all areas would have access to water.”
Mosimane added that a master plan would be drawn up to avoid problems of this sort in the future.
“We admit that the lack of distribution points have caused serious problems. However, we condemn the destruction of the water tanks that were meant to assist the community.
“The JoJo tanks that could have been circulated to areas in need of water were destroyed by vandals that stabbed them with sharp objects and stole the taps.”