Over 500 people share two communal taps in Diepsloot

“It’s unbearable living in Diepsloot. We are living like animals,” says mother of two

By Chris Gilili

15 May 2023

Diepsloot resident Matsie Mangena collects water with her baby from one of only two working communal taps in the area. Photo: Chris Gilili

Every day Matsie Mangena from Diepsloot’s Extension 11 in Johannesburg puts her baby on her back and goes to queue for water at one of only two working communal taps in the area. Some days she waits until mid-morning, once the crowds have subsided.

There are about three other communal taps in the area but they have been vandalised and no longer function.

Residents complain of overflowing sewage from blocked drains.

The single mother of two is one of more than 500 people living in shacks in the dense settlement. There is a stench of rotten food and streams of filthy stagnant water are visible throughout the area. “It’s unbearable living in Diepsloot. We are living like animals,” said Mangena.

“We stay here because we don’t have any other choice.”

Mangena said they want the government to give them more taps and to fix their sanitation issues. “Diepsloot has been ignored, but we are voting. We also need janitors to clean our toilets. Ever since they were installed, we have cleaned them ourselves and we don’t have the right cleaning equipment,” said Mangena.

Another resident, Mpho Mpe, has stayed in Ext 11 since 2008. She told GroundUp that she too stands in long queues for water. She said the drains are also a serious concern and though municipal workers have been alerted a few times, the blockages continue.

“We see the municipal trucks going to other areas, but they never come here. We have kids who play around the smelly and stagnant water. We have flies on sunny days and you can’t even eat if you’re not used to it. Sometimes we ask the men staying in our area to help us unblock these drains, but it doesn’t help” she said.

Ward 113 Councillor, Abraham Mabuke (ANC), said he had only been notified of blocked drains in Ext 11 last week. Mabuke promised to ask Joburg Water trucks to clear the drain and toilets. He confirmed that there were over 500 people in Ext 11.

“Diepsloot Extension 11 has three committees that look at the affairs of its citizens. There has been no report about the shortage of taps at Ext 11. However, I will instruct the committees to do a fact-finding mission. Upon receiving a report, I will act quickly,” he said.