The only tap ran dry seven years ago in the village of Ngchisindi Kumkolo in Ngkamakhwe, about 35 kilometers from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape.
According to residents, the last time they piped water was in 2016, when a construction company building a school in the area installed a standpipe connected to a windmill.
“I’m not lying when I say the last time we were clean [tap] Water in 2016, after we begged the contractor to install a standpipe for us. Unfortunately, the water only came out for a few months and the tap dried up,” says villager Luyanda Gciyane.
He said the standpipes are shared by 1,000 families, who now struggle to get water.
There is an old tank from the 1980s that was used to supply water but the villagers say it broke in 2005. For years they asked the Amathol district municipality to fix the tank, but nothing was done.
Az Kwanil met Mahlukwane fetching water with a bucket from a natural spring 1 km from his home in upper Ngchesinende district.
He said, “The issue of water shortage in this village has been around for a long time, and we no longer worry the members of the department council about it.”
Malukwani said one has to come very early in the morning to get clean water at the spring, before the cattle arrive.
Ngcisininde Komkhulu is one of the oldest villages in Ngqamakhwe. Most of the residents we spoke to said they had lived there for more than 40 years. Many of the villagers are elderly and dependent on social grants. Some villagers manage to buy rainwater tanks, but the last good rain was in February and their tanks are dry.
Since he became a councilor in October 2021, he has been pleading with the Amathol District Municipality to address this problem, said the Chancellor of Ward No. 18, Lunga Dyanti (ANC). He said the majority of the village houses are without water, but not his entire ward area.
Municipal spokesperson Nonsiba Madikizela Fosu confirmed that parts of Ngesinendi Kumkolo had no water infrastructure.
She said the Ngkamakhoi Regional Water Supply Plan, which is in the planning stage, would solve this problem. No timetables mentioned.
Madikizela Fosu said the municipality took over water services from the Water Affairs Department in 2006. After an assessment was conducted in 2008, an infrastructure renewal program was developed and financing was secured.
In 2015, two wind turbines were installed to pump water for the community. Currently, only one wind turbine is operational. Madikizela-Vuso said “work was in full swing” to get the other turbine back up and running.
She said, “The area in question is supplied by wind turbines feeding a raised reservoir from which water is drawn into the standpipe. So we have two standpipes in the village with only one running.”
Az The villagers could not get an explanation as to why the standpipe had dried up and why it could not be repaired while the villagers were waiting for the water project to be completed. DM
It was first published by Az.