R6-million spent on water project but no diesel to run the pump

Taps have never had water in Mnyamaneni village, Eastern Cape

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Lack of diesel to run a water pump to fill this tank is one of the reasons taps have stayed dry in Mnyamaneni, despite nearly R6-million spent on a water project since 2020. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Nearly R6-million has been spent on the Mnyamaneni village water project near Matatiele in the Eastern Cape, but taps are dry, because there is no diesel for a generator for the water pump.

Started in 2020, a project to supply and reticulate water throughout the village received R1.5-million from a Covid intervention and additional funding of R4.3-million from the Water Services Infrastructure Grant, according to Alfred Nzo District Municipality spokesperson Lixolile Petela.

But the project has never provided water, despite being “completed”. Water needs to be pumped from a dam to a tank with a pump that relies on a diesel generator. But there is no diesel for the pump. Supplying it with diesel is an operational challenge, we were told by Petela.

Matatiele Local Municipality spokesperson Luncedo Walaza said the community wants the Alfred Nzo District Municipality to connect the pumps throughout Matatiele and in areas such as Mnyamaneni, where water must be pumped by a generator, to the electricity grid.

Alfred Nzo deputy mayor Nomasomi Mshuqwana, who hails from Mnyamaneni village, said the villagers do have constant access to spring water and the river.

She said they would work with the villagers to rehabilitate springs and plan a “sustainable water supply”.

“Most people here have bought water tanks, but for us who do not have children who are working in cities, we are using drums to collect rainwater,” said villager Masithathu Mbele.

She said people fetch water at night or very early before the livestock reach the river.

“We struggle a lot when we have funerals because we are forced to hire a tractor to get us water from the dam,” she said. This can cost between R800 and R1,500.

“This project was handed over to the community while they knew the pumps were not working,” complained villager Zoleka Moya. “Not a single drop of water came out of those taps.”

This is not the only abandoned, unfinished or failed water project in Matatiele, despite hundreds of millions being spent on water supply projects in the area.

TOPICS:  Local government Water

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