It’s Christmas without water for hundreds of families in Kariega

Municipality blames water shortage on vandalism of pump station last March

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KwaNobuhle residents rushed to get water from a tanker on Thursday. After an hour the supply had run out. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

  • Families in KwaNobuhle in Kariega have spent weeks without water.
  • They were hoping the problem would be fixed by Christmas, but the municipality has announced further delays.
  • The municipality says the problem is a pump station which was vandalised in March.

Hundreds of residents of KwaNobuhle township, Kariega, are facing Christmas without water in their taps.

The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality released a statement on Friday morning, saying that “it is our deepest regret that we have to inform residents that some parts of KwaNobuhle are still experiencing water disruptions”.

“Our teams have instituted temporary arrangements to rezone and supply water from another zone whilst we work on a permanent link between two zones. This temporary rezoning is likely to create water disruptions in another zone.”

Some families in the township say their taps have been completely dry for three weeks.

On Thursday afternoon, a water truck carrying 5,000 litres of water arrived on busy Bucwa Street in ward 45. Residents quickly spread the word through their cellphones that a truck was there and a queue formed. People rushed to fill pots, buckets and bottles from the hose carried by one of the two truck drivers. But in less than an hour, the truck ran out of water.

“This is unfair. When there is an electricity outage, at least we can use a gas cylinder. But when there is no water, you have nothing at all…and you can’t make your own water ,” said ward 45 resident, Babalwa Nonkumbana, watching the truck drive off. She did not manage to get water.

“Our toilets are stinking. We can’t take a bath and our children’s skin is itching. This is the third week without water in our family taps. At my home, there was umgidi (celebration of the coming of an initiate from the bush) and many people who attended it felt humiliated: our toilet was stinking as there was no water to flush, drink or even wash our hands. We didn’t have money to hire chemical toilets,” she said.

Mziyanda Adams from ward 47, did not manage to fill his buckets either.

“We have had no information in ward 47 as to why there is no water in our taps. I decided to travel by transport after hearing that there was a water truck here. But, despite being number three in the queue, the truck ran out of water and left me with my empty buckets. I didn’t see water trucks in my ward.” he said.

Mayco Member for Engineering and Infrastructure in Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Khanya Ngqisha (EFF), said on Facebook that a pump station had been vandalised and as a result the reservoir was empty. A contractor was on site to connect pipes to another reservoir, he said.

Joseph Tsatsire, director of water distribution in the municipality, said in March the pump station had been ”stripped of anything metal and all electrical wires and equipment”. Asked why it had taken so long to fix, he said only: “Budgets and lead times to parts.”

There was still no water in some parts of wards 45, 46 and 47 on Friday morning, although in other parts of the same wards, water had been restored.

Workers were trying to reconnect pipes on Thursday to supply water to KwaNobuhle. But some parts of the township still had no water on Friday. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

TOPICS:  Water

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