Water shortage is the main problem for residents of Ga-Machacha Village outside Jane Furse. The community, in Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality Ward 25 is living in a dire situation in which locals find themselves sharing water with domestic and wild animals. More than 2000 households in the village were surviving with only one borehole that was since contracted by the apartheid government as the only water source in the village. The supply was inadequate due to the increase in population and extensions of new sections in the village. To make matters worse, the borehole was broken two years ago as it was very old and not maintained. Since then the whole village has resorted to rivers and wells to fetch drinking water, which according to villagers, there was no provision of clean drinkable water from the government since the dawn of democracy.
Makhuduthamaga Local Municipality Ward 25 has six villages and residents accuse the councilor, Paul Diketane of providing water to his village of Ga-Mashabela and forgetting about the others. A community leader, Sekgala Manaleng told Sekhukhune Times that residents survive by sharing water with animals. “It has been a struggle for me and other residents of the village as there is no water here. We had no choice but to resort to rivers and wells. We are worried about the elderly and people living with disabilities,” he said.
Manaleng added engagements with Sekhukhune District Municipality hit a stumbling block on several occasions. “We have a countless letters directed to the municipality, they are helping with nothing. Their last intervention was in 1997; they came here and drill a borehole which was about 5 km from the village. The borehole was never functional since it was constructed. They keep on saying they will come back but they have vanished. We have a number of agreements with them that were never fulfilled,” he said.
According to Manaleng, as the rivers and wells are now drying-up due to lack of rain in winter, opportunists are now selling water to desperate villagers charging abnormal prices. “We have to fill a 200 litres container with R120-00 which is a lot of money for such a very little tank but we have no other option. The water is not even clean.. We are exposed to waterborne diseases and even on the risk of contracting the Covid-19,” he said. He added they are subjected to a situation where some residents are urged to use the same water to bath their bodies more than once.
“This is the only way we are saving water because they are expensive these days. We have to spare enough water to drink instead of washing our bodies, this is inhuman,” he said. Manaleng said they have directed their complaints to the Department of Water and Sanitation and Coghta. Sekhukhune District Municipality Spokesperson Moloko Moloto, was not available for a comment as his phone rang unanswered.