Everything came to a standstill as residents of College View in Bushbuckridge protested against lack of water. Pupils could not get to school, cars and taxis were prevented from leaving or entering the area, roads were blocked with burning tyres, rocks and logs and some of the businesses could not operate. As residents blocked roads, while singing struggle songs as they protested on Wednesday Morning.
According to Mr Sidney Khoza, who is the Ward 9 Councillor of Better Residents Association (BRA), more than 20 residents came to him and complained that they have been without water for almost a month. Khoza said the residents told him that when they call the ANC ward councillor, he doesn’t come to them or attend to their problems.
Khoza told Bushbuckridge News that this ANC municipality has previously promised the residents that Rand Water will be leaving Bushbuckridge and the municipality will be reticulating its own running water system. He said they promised that by 1st July, this year the whole of Bushbuckridge would be having running water but that has not happened.
“Another problem is the fact that some of these residents in areas like College View have flushing toilets inside their houses so it becomes a problem when they don’t have water. They asked me to call a community meeting and that is where all the stakeholders from College View and Malepoleng as well as the community members decided to have a shut down in the area” said Khoza.
When asked, Khoza also explained that they didn’t stop these learners from going to school; he said the learners were turned away since there were no teachers at school. He explained that most of these teachers live outside College View so they couldn’t enter the area. He added that the community had to do this because some of these kids go to school without having had a bath.
He told Bushbuckridge News that they are hoping that the municipality will give them a positive answer with regards to their water problems. He said that if they don’t get the answers they are hoping for then the strike will continue until they get the answers they want.
According to one of the residents, Ms Gleda Sihlangu, she has been without water for the past three weeks. Sihlangu said as a result, everyday things like washing and doing laundry becomes a problem. She said they end up being called by teachers at schools complaining about these kids who come to school unclean.
“We now have to buy water and on top of that we have to push wheelbarrows to get the same water we are buying. This is very sad because places like Matenteng have running water yet they don’t pay any municipal rates and we do. Three months ago we were sent bills which we paid, yet we don’t have water” said Sihlangu.
Another resident, Ms Zandile Khoza, echoed Sihlangu’s sentiments. She said they are fed up with the treatment they are getting from the municipality; they are fed up with having to buy water and having to get water from very far. She added that it is not healthy to live this long without clean running water.
Speaking to Bushbuckridge News, the Executive Mayor of Bushbuckridge Local Municipality said the municipality arranged plumbers to check what the problem might be with the water supply in that area. At the time of going to print, these plumbers were still busy at the area and according to the mayor, they were making progress.
Khoza did confirm this and told Bushbuckridge News that the water problem has been fixed. He said this shows that water has been available all along but the municipality is making it unavailable to residents. According to Khoza it is wrong that the municipality only responds after the community has protested.
“The municipality only responds after the residents have protested, after the residents have blocked the roads, after tyres have been burned and people not going to work. This is wrong because the municipality didn’t fetch this water anywhere, they just switched it on. It seems like they are denying people water” he said.
He further said that, if the municipality fails to pay Rand Water now, how are they going to reticulate their own running water system and that this might result in residents not having clean water. He also added that the residents want a service provider who is going to do their job well.