‘Desserted’ villagers have to walk distances to fetch water as municipality fails to honour promises


Thabisile Khomo

THE merger of KwaSani and Ingwe municipalities, which gave birth to the new Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma local municipality a few years back brought a glimmer of hope to Mnqundekweni villagers in Bulwer, in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, who had been without clean water for decades.

But years have passed and the water woes in the village allegedly remain unchanged. Villagers claim that Mnqundekweni, which falls under ward 7 of the Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma Municipality, has remained desserted for many years, an unfortunate situation that leaves them with no choice but to share filthy local streams with livestock.

Sharing her pain, one of the villagers, Neliswa Mazeka (31), said she wasn’t happy that their lives were being taken for granted in such a disgusting manner.

“Out of all the wards under this municipality, we are the only ones who haven’t been provided with clean water. We travel long distances to the streams and springs. Nobody does that in our neighbouring wards. They have taps and water tanks that are being regularly refilled closer to their homesteads,” said Mazeka.

She added that the streams are always dirty. “No human being is supposed to consume water with cow dung and other animals’ droppings. It’s only good for irrigation purposes,” said Mazeka.

Another villager Khanyisile Zaca (25) revealed that two years back they requested the local councillor to help them sort out the problem.

​ “He brought a few jojo tanks. However, his effort doesn’t seem to be of assistance to us because those tanks are not being refilled with water,” said Zaca.​

Ward councillor Thandokwakhe Dlamini confirmed that he was aware of the water plight in his ward. ​However he referred all the enquiries pertaining to the matter to Harry Gwala District municipality.

NDZ municipality spokesman, Nqobile Vakalisa said: “Please be advised that​ Harry Gwala District Municipality is responsible for the provision of water and sanitation services.”

Harry Gwala District Municipality spokesman, Ndabezitha Tenza said: “We are aware of the water problem and are working together with other relevant government structures to resolve the situation.”

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