Taps have been dry in this Durban community for more than a decade

“My daughter was a year old when I last saw water coming out of our taps. She will be 14 next month,” says frustrated Bester resident

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Bester residents in Durban rush to the municipality’s tanker with their plastic containers to collect water on 10 January. Taps in the area have been dry for more than 14 years, say residents. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

People living in the community of Bester near KwaMashu, Durban, say they have been forced to live without piped water for more than a decade.

Bester was established in 1985 when the provincial government built 850 two-room state homes for workers. Residents say their water supply woes worsened after the nearby Bridge City Mall was completed in 2008.

Residents say their taps are dry. While they rely on the municipality to dispatch water tankers, the tankers do not come regularly, or arrive during the day when most people are at work.

Community leader Sabelo Masinga said most people are forced to pay neighbours to fetch water for them from the nearby KwaMashu township on days when the water trucks don’t arrive.

“The City can’t get water tankers to us for weeks sometimes. Sometimes we wait the whole day for the truck to bring water, only to find that the truck won’t be coming that particular day,” said Masinga.

Resident Bongi Mzobe said we are tired of reporting the problem to the City, who always promise to fix the problem but never do so.

“My daughter was a year old when I last saw water coming out of our taps. She will be 14 next month. We don’t want anything to do with the water tankers. We are human beings who deserve dignity,” said Mzobe.

Resident Khanyisile Cele said she has to pay someone R5 per 25-litre container to collect water from the neighbouring community. “I am really tired of running for water. I am old now. Paying for someone to get water for me is also not easy.”

PR councillor Nontobeko Ntuli (DA) told GroundUp the eThekwini municipality was losing millions of rands by using water tankers to deliver water to communities. “Fixing the infrastructure can resolve the problem. I am always worried about the elderly people who suffer without water,” said Ntuli.

When we contacted Patrick Phiri, who works in eThekwini municipality’s water department, he promised to send a team to the area to assess the situation and give a proper report.

TOPICS:  Sanitation Water

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