Water tanks put to use as a playground

Villagers in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape, say the tanks have been standing dry for five years

Photo of people in silhouette

Baphathe villagers on top of the storage tanks. Photo: Nomzamo Yuku

By Nomzamo Yuku

23 November 2016

Three large water storage tanks at Baphathe and First Gate villages in Mount Frere are being used as a playground by youngsters. The tanks, which were built ten years ago according to the villagers, were meant to supply water to the communities of ward 16.

Nkosibongile Mbangweni of First Gate said, “These tanks are useless; they are just a perfect spot to chill and enjoy the beautiful view of our village. I don’t know if the municipality was building us a rooftop or a water supply scheme.”

To access water, villagers have to cross the busy N2 to freshwater streams and collect it in plastic containers.

Zodwa Bhomela, 60, said life was tough without clean water. She said streams were drying up because of the drought.

A youngster playing soccer on top of one of the tanks said, “I enjoy playing here. It is smooth and warm on cold days. It is an amazing place to enjoy the sun and relax. You can also get to see the whole village too.”

“What is the point of taking care of these tanks if the municipality is not doing anything to fix them and supply us with clean water?” he asked.

District Mayor Sixolile Mehlomakhulu said a water scheme budget was announced in July and would cover some parts of ward 16 including the three tanks. “We want to see those tanks effectively supplying clean water to all designated areas in ward 16,” said the mayor.

“During this financial year, we want to see most of those pipe related problems which are the case with these tanks solved and many citizens having access to clean running water,” said Mehlomakhulu.