“Tightrope” walk for villagers fetching water

In Richmond Farm residents have to do a balancing act to fetch water from a municipal ablution block

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Residents of Richmond Farm in Ntuzuma B, north of Durban, have to walk on this pipeline to fetch water from a municipal ablution facility at KwaMashu. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

In Richmond Farm, Ntuzuma B, north of Durban, there is a large, above ground water pipeline. Ironically, instead of it providing water for the residents, it is used as a walkway to cross a deep gully so that people can fetch water with buckets from a municipal ablution facility in KwaMashu K section.

The area has 4,000 households, excluding informal settlements. For the past three years their taps have often been dry for weeks on end.

The pipeline was exposed by the 2022 floods and now serves as a bridge. Crossing the round and often slippery pipeline while carrying water buckets is dangerous.

“Crossing the pipeline is terrifying, but what choice do we have? We need water to survive,” said Thandi Ndlovu.

“We’ve seen people get injured trying to cross. Some have fallen and died in the past, but it is a gamble we have to take,” said Sibusiso Dlamini.

GroundUp was unable to verify any fatalities.

“We don’t even get water tankers on a weekly basis, which is something so simple. Our cries are not being heard,” said Dlamini.

“I’ve never seen a single water tanker on my road, since we’ve had this water crisis,” complained Nomusa Zulu, a mother of three.

Ward 38 Councillor Muzi Thusi (ANC) confirmed taps run dry intermittently, but he said the municipality had allocated five water tankers on rotation and 24 rain tanks to the area.

“When the water supply is restored, the water tankers stop going to those areas. When the water is off again, committee members sometimes fail to report back,” said Thusi.

He said people also miss the tanker trucks when they are away at work. The municipality needs to draw up a proper schedule, he said.

Repairing the Ntuzuma 2 pump station, damaged in a fire in April 2023, will alleviate the situation.

Thusi said they had expected the repairs to be done by March this year, but eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said more than half the pumps were broken and the City was busy refurbishing and upgrading the pump station.

Work is expected to be concluded in July 2025, “if there are no unforeseen delays”.

“Water tankers will continue to be utilised in the interim,” said Sisilana.

Residents should report water issues through their ward councillors or by using eThekwini Municipality’s Mobile App, WhatsApp, toll-free number or email, she said.

TOPICS:  Local government Water

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Dear Editor

I'm so sad reading this about our people still suffering about water. Water is life 🙌😌

In this day and age of democracy, after a full 30 years, why must our people suffer? We voted for change 29th of May 2024.

It is so sad the people suffer in the rural places with no food, no schools, water, transport, hospitals and clinics... I am really sad and mad on behalf of our people.

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