Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 November 2010
Residents of Mthatha are fed up with authorities for failing to fix the city’s water infrastructure, which has had water flowing freely from burst pipes for years now.
Some claim raw sewage can at times be seen flowing down the streets.
It is considered by many to be one of the filthiest towns in the Eastern Cape, and residents say not much is being done to change Mthatha’s stinky reputation.
Ratepayers’ Association of Mthatha (RAM) chairperson Graeme Alexander said the leaks were “frustrating”.
“OR Tambo (District Municipality) is doing nothing about the problem. Why is management doing nothing? The mayor needs to take the lead and get things done – this is a health hazard. People of Mthatha have come to accept it as the norm and there is a lack of interest from management.
“Where is all the money being spent? We need responsible, efficient and proactive staff that will sort out the problem,” said Alexander.
Mthatha forms part of King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) Local Municipality, but OR Tambo District Municipality is responsible for water issues.
OR Tambo acting municipal manager Mbuso Ncube yesterday said they were aware of the problems in Mthatha. “Our biggest problem is that we have old infrastructure that has never been refurbished and the town is growing at such a fast rate that the infrastructure cannot keep up.
“What we need here is for the infrastructure to be redone and new infrastructure is going to cost billions,” said Ncube, adding that the money was not available.
“With the current budget we will only reach our target of ensuring new infrastructure and clean running water in 2022. That is why we have appealed to National Treasury to prioritise us, and hopefully by 2014 we can reach the target.
“There is an inter-governmental structure that is constantly meeting to plan on how to eradicate the problem,” Ncube added.
Thembakazi Nyindi, who has been working at a hair salon in Elliot Street for 15 years, said the situation had deteriorated over the years.
“Every day is the same here – you just see faeces in the water.
“It is frustrating because while other towns are being developed, Mthatha has fallen by the wayside.
“Honestly, I do not know what could be done to salvage the situation.
“We have had the same problems here for years, so I guess we have come to accept it as the norm.”
Lulama Mfundisi, a hawker who has been selling fruit and vegetables on the corner of Elliot and Madeira streets for 20 years, said she, too, was tired of the situation and that the constant flow of water caused potholes. “We have given up on it. We have come to accept it because we have never experienced anything better in Mthatha. I wish Mthatha could be as attractive as other towns.”
By Siya Boya