By Emily Setona
Warden – Deputy Minister of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) Dikeledi Magadzi alongside Free State DWS HOD Dr. Tseliso Ntili commemorated women’s month at an event that was aimed to highlight the role of women in the protection of water resource infrastructure.
“It is very crucial for women to be in the forefront of the war against the vandalism of water resource infrastructure. Women are the ones who are most vulnerable when it comes to issues of water and sanitation, therefore they should make a concerted effort to make sure that the community protects their water and sanitation infrastructure because if infrastructure is vandalized women suffer the most,” Magadzi said. When addressing the audience Ntili said that the role of the DWS is to make sure that the municipality receives their full support when it comes to issues of water and sanitation.
Nonhlanhla Tshabalala from Memel raised the issue of old bucket toilets that have not been properly removed and have now become a dangerous playing ground for the young children in the community. “We need assistance to remove these old bucket toilets because young children play there and it is very dangerous because they can fall inside and become injured,” Tshabalala said. “When it comes to issues around our water bills we need proper monitoring systems and it would also be very helpful if the department could assist us with a water cleaning plant so that we can be able to have our borehole water tested and perhaps participate in the bottled water business,” Melita Mthembu a community member from Vrede said.
“It is not enough that our department just comes to refurbish vandalized infrastructure, we are also committed to capacitating this municipality with the necessary assistance it needs to make sure that we restore the community’s dignity when it comes to matters of water and sanitation. We as a department plan to return on the 6th and 7th of September to engage the municipality on issues of how to implement bylaws and to see how we can help the community with the issues they raised today,” Ntili said.
“It is high time that citizens take full responsibility of their water and sanitation issues because if they destroy the infrastructure that is meant to bring water and sanitation services to them, they are destroying their own resources. In Sesotho culture it is said that the woman holds the knife by the blade so it is important that women champion the cause against the vandalism of water resource infrastructure. What was wonderful about today’s event was to hear a group of women with a solutions oriented mindset to their community’s problems,” Magadzi said.