‘We are human, we need water,’ says Mganka community

THE community of Mganka has been without water for over four months and the frustrated residents say they feel like they are being treated as sub-humans.

Water interruptions to the area began at the start of labour unrest in Ugu in April.

The labour unrest affected several areas within the municipality, however, unlike the other areas, the Mganka area in Ward 20 did not see water returning to their area.

Instead, “temporary” relief provided by municipal water tankers on the weekends was their only source of water. In recent weeks, residents say, even the water tankers have been erratic.

“They used to enter all the roads in the area until an argument ensued about a month ago between a truck driver and an elderly woman who complained about the long wait for the water delivery. The driver got angry and drove off while we were still getting water and that was the last time a truck has entered our road and their excuse has been that we had bad roads. However, before the argument, no one complained about the road,” said resident Zamambo Mkhize.

Mkhize said even after their road was fixed, the water trucks refused to go in, citing that they were not permitted to.

She said the community’s desperation is mounting daily as they seek drinking water from “home-made boreholes” and local streams and rivers.

“Their excuse is that the pump that pumps water for us is pumping for Murchison Hospital, so does that mean we need to drink from rivers and get sick, and then get admitted to hospital so we can get clean running water too?” asked Mkhize.

She said the rivers are some distance from their homes and therefore some things for which water is used, like flushing toilets and watering gardens, which are for some a primary source of food and income, have fallen away.

Their cries, she said, have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. “We have reported this to Ugu numerous times and all we get is a reference number. We also reported it to our councillor and I also spoke to Mr Shozi who is in charge of the trucks. There is no one at Ugu who does not know about this,” said Mkhize.

Angie Mnisi, who is also from the area, said the trucks sometimes does not come for days on end.

“Most days I have to carry a bucket to work so I can come back with water in it. Some of the water truck drivers don’t even hoot to make the community aware that they are around and households miss the opportunity to refill. Also, they come during the day while everyone is at work. It is very hard to live without water. We cannot do laundry freely, as well as all the other things that require water,” said Mnisi.

Ward councillor Shedrack Sello Morafe said he has been fighting for months to have the situation resolved. “The situation at Mganka is very frustrating. It is understandable to have a few water cuts every now and then but this has been going on for too long. It is a huge problem and Ugu needs to stop dragging its feet and resolve it.

Comment was requested from the Ugu District Municipality but none was forthcoming at the time of going to print.