Covid-19: Water supply improves in Cape Town’s informal settlements

Water tanks and trucks have been delivered to some areas

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Photo of woman holding placard
Nombeko Makhanda, who has been living in Site C informal settlement for 18 years, at the picket last month where residents of informal settlements demanded better water supply. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Water tanks and water trucks have been supplied to some informal settlements in Cape Town as promised by the City of Cape Town during a protest in March.

On 25 March residents of several informal settlements in the Khayelitsha Community Action Network picketed outside the Civic Centre, demanding that the City immediately provide emergency water supplies during the Covid-19 lockdown. The group came from Island, New Monwabisi, Qandu-Qandu, Site C and BM Section and other informal settlements in Khayelitsha. City community liaison officer Asanda Mdingi said then that the City would ensure that all informal settlements without water, either get standpipes or water tanks.

Mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg told GroundUp this week that more than 10 million litres of water had been delivered via water trucks to various areas across the city. She said three water tanks were installed in Island informal settlement, water trucks were delivering water twice a day in Qandu Qandu, and a truck provided water to BM Section daily.

Island community leader Nonceba Ndlebe confirmed that Jojo tanks had been installed and two water trucks were servicing the area through the day. “Two trucks come here and park at different points and people come with their bottles and buckets to collect water. We use a loudspeaker to tell the residents when the trucks have arrived,” said Ndlebe.

Ndlebe said the water trucks and tanks had also increased security because people no longer had to travel far or at night to access water. “We are hoping for more tanks,” he said.

BM Section community leader Zakuthini Ndletyana said a water truck arrives daily at 10am for an hour but no tanks had been provided yet. Xolisa Ndwebi, a community leader from Qandu Qandu, confirmed that water trucks were coming to the settlement but said the trucks parked far away because there were no roads.

“Some residents are still without water and some have to walk quite a distance to access the water from the trucks. We have asked the City if they cannot provide us with smaller trucks that can at least park nearer to most residents.” No tanks had been installed yet, she said.

Water trucks had stopped delivering water to Site C, said Limberg, because of incidents where the contractor and staff were robbed of their valuables. “The City is making every effort to resume this service as soon as possible. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to use the existing water supply in the form of standpipes,” she said.

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