Pietermaritzburg municipality lets water go to waste, but residents have to queue at the tap

100 people to one tap in Pavilion informal settlement

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Photo of woman at tap
Pavilion residents have to get water from a single tap. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

While a water leak runs unattended in Pavilion informal settlement in Pietermaritzburg, about 100 residents are sharing one communal tap.

Residents say the leak has been running for years, not far from the single tap.

Residents have connected a pipe to a second leak, which they use to collect water. They use stones to prevent water from coming out of the burst pipe when no one is fetching water.

They say both leaks have been reported to the municipality but nothing has been done.

Thobile Khumalo has lived in Pavilion for two years. “All of us are using one tap. The residents decided to connect a pipe to collect water that is always running unattended. The matter has been reported to Msunduzi municipality. We have not seen anyone [come] from the municipality to fix it,” said Khumalo.

She said she lives far away from where the tap is.

“The elderly suffer the most. They can’t walk to the communal tap.”

“Residents need two or three proper taps,” said Hlengiwe Khuboni. When GroundUp visited she had come to fetch water with her 20-litre container.

“My house is up the hill. I have to wake up very early. Sometimes there is a queue because everyone uses this one tap. In a day I come to fetch water four times. It is tiring walking up the hill with a container full of water,” said Khuboni.

Siphamandla Msomi said residents wanted more taps.

“It is a pity that water is being wasted while we have one tap. We are requesting that the government install more taps for us,” he said.

Msunduzi spokesperson Ntobe Ngcobo said the water leak had been reported to the water unit and would be attended to. She said the land had been considered too steep for housing development and had been “invaded” by the current residents.

Ngcobo said the municipality’s Human Settlement Unit had done a survey of the settlement and its need for services.

She did not answer questions about why the leaks had not been attended to.

Msomi said during general election campaigns residents had been offered jojo tanks but they had refused.

“Living in shacks doesn’t mean that we will accept anything. Many residents in this area did not cast their votes. They were angry that they are being neglected,” said Msomi.

Ward 34 Councillor Mike Amod (ANC) said the needs of the residents had been noted and would be taken up with the Department of Human Settlements.

TOPICS:  Housing Water

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