Johannesburg – Some residents of Emfuleni Municipality which has an outstanding debt with Rand Water, not only have to use polluted water, some have been experiencing water shortages since November last year while others complained that the problem started only in the last few weeks.
Emfuleni, which was placed under administration in 2018 due to financial mismanagement and lack of service delivery, owes R1.3 billion to Rand Water and R3.2bn to Eskom.
An Evaton extension 11 resident, Nkele Moholobela, said it is hard and frustrating to live without water and this has been the story of her life since the taps ran dry.
“This has been happening for long now. Sometimes the water trickles out which affects the geyser which is now broken. Sometimes we are forced to boil water using kettles and this is sad because we have to take turns in the morning. It means one should wake up early or be late for work. This also means we have to buy more electricity than we used to. The situation is tough because we don’t have enough money to maintain this lifestyle,” she said.
Shirly Ngomezulu, from Boitumelo in Sebokeng, said the problem started last week.
“Even today, there was no water when I woke up. This is too much for us because we can’t cook. Sometimes we get water in the evenings. Imagine coming from work and you’re tired and you have to wait for water so you can cook,” said the 37-year-old mother.
There was also a water shortage in Muvhango, Bophelong near Vanderbijlpark where Jabulani Ngomane stays. “Seems they have cut pressure. Now we are struggling because there is no water in the kitchens and toilets,” said Ngomane.
But Emfuleni’s administrator Gilberto Martins said in a statement this week that the municipality is aware of the water shortages in some parts of Emfuleni.
“This is due to additional water supply reductions imposed on the municipality by Rand Water as a credit control measure since February 25. Higher lying areas in Vereeniging, Evaton, Sedibeng, Vanderbijlpark, Bophelong, Roshnee and Rust-Ter-Vaal will be most affected by the reductions,” said Martins.
The municipality said it was also working around the clock to attend to water leakages, which also contributed to the intermittent and low-pressure water supply.
DA Emfuleni North Constituency head Kingsol Chabalala said it was worrying that water shortages in the municipality have been an ongoing issue without a lasting solution between Rand Water and Emfuleni.
“The residents are now suffering as they have to walk long distances to fetch water for household purposes and are unable to use the ablution facilities,” he said.
Chabalala added: “The country is experiencing the spreading wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and a third wave is anticipated and one of the ways in which the spread of this virus is curbed is by regularly washing of hands, health protocol of regularly washing hands when they are experiencing water shortages,” said Chabalala, adding that the administrators were failing to rescue the municipality from a financial crisis and to deliver services to the residents.