Extended water outages due to loadshedding and the collapse of water infrastructure have now not only left residents of the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality high and dry, but are also having serious health implications for locals.
Residents of Cradock and Bergsig have now been without water for seven days. Last week 1176 learners of the Middelland Secondary School in Middelburg were joined by teachers and other staff members in marching to demand that the ANC governed Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) provides them with safe, potable water. The CHDM is responsible for the provision of water to the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality.
The march followed after the school, including the hostel, experienced five days without running water. This led to an extremely unhygienic situation at the school. Learners also fell ill and suffered from stomach ailments after drinking the carted water provided by the CHDM.
I have written a letter to the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Zolile Williams, requesting his intervention in this water crisis. The DA is also requesting additional water tanker trucks to be stationed permanently in Cradock and Middelburg to ensure a rapid supply of clean water to residents when all systems fail.
Loadshedding is wreaking havoc with water reticulation as electrical pump systems are offline for several hours on a daily basis.
Reservoirs, especially in high-lying areas, regularly run dry due to extended loadshedding and lack of diesel.
The CHDM has failed to deliver on its mandate and the municipality’s ageing, failing and dilapidated water infrastructure is testament to this.
The Municipality also lacks the funds to timeously buy and pay for diesel for the emergency generator at the Geelbooi storage dams in Cradock. The generator powers the pumps that pump water to the water purification plant and reservoir in Bergsig. The Bergsig reservoir provides water to 50 000 residents in the Cradock area. The CHDM also regularly fails to manually start the generator to ensure that water is pumped to the reservoir.
The DA will not stand idly by while our people are being deprived of their basic human right to water.