By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – Residents of Qholaqhwe, Matsikeng and parts of Tebang on Monday took to the streets to protest against water shortages that have plagued them for about two years.
The protest was dubbed “Metsi Pompong” (water from taps), and the residents claim it’s been two years since they had a consistent supply of water, and had had to rely on tankers’ distribution system.
Learning and teaching were disrupted in some primary schools as some teachers and learners were forced to return home when protesters blockaded the Old Phuthaditjhaba Cemetery Street with rocks, burning tyres and JoJo tanks to express their frustration.
At least 15 JoJo tanks which were placed at various stations across the ward were torched.
A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed the water crisis in their Ward means they are forced to rely mainly on rain water for survival.
“We have no choice because it’s been two weeks since the JoJo trucks distributed water here. We are tired! We want water from our taps nothing else,” he said.
Scorpiee Tsotetsi, who resides in Qholaqhwe village, between 2019 and October 2020 they never experienced any water shortages.
“This JoJo tankering distribution system is just not working at all; as we speak now they have not been filled with water for weeks now,” said Tsotetsi.
She said she voted Map16 hoping it will bring much-needed solutions service delivery challenges, but she regrets her choice.
“We gave our councillor a fair chance since he was in the ANC, but he continues to fail the community of Ward 24 and we’re still struggling to get tap water. I’m very disappointed,” she said.
Ward 24 Councillor, Shashapa Motaung told this publication that the interruption to JoJo trucks distributing water in the area was due to “a pump that was supposed to pump water from Sterkfontein dam to Upstruction Point in Bluegumbosch was not working”.
However, he said they had a community meeting last week Wednesday, where he outlined the solution of water crisis in his area.
But when this publication approached MaP Water for comment, its acting communications manager, Kelopile Mongake, issued a statement on Sunday 12 February, which reads: “MaP Water would like to inform the residents, public representatives, councils of traditional leadership, management of the public and/or private institutions/businesses about water supply interruption.
Affected Areas are: Makwane, Molapo, Mollakwekwe, Sekgutlong, Monyakeng, Masimong, Pereng, Matsikeng, Khabisi, Tebang & Qholaqoe. The reason for this is a burst pipe. Water tankers will be dispatched in the affected areas to supply the community with water until such time that the aforementioned matter is resolved’”
Meanwhile, Maluti a Phofung municipality’s Executive Mayor, Gilbert Mokotso has since expressed his at the burning of the JoJo tanks and described it as an act of crime.
“We condemn such irresponsible behaviour of burning the municipality properties and we wish to warn our community to refrain from such acts,” said Mokotso.