Barely a year after water was restored to the Itireleng village in Madibeng, taps have run dry. After nine months without water, supply was restored in the village in July last year. However, the water supply only lasted until May this year, GroundUp reports.
Resident Mary Malefathlo said water was supplied from a large tank, which was filled by a water truck once a week, on a Friday. “You spend the whole week without water and have to wait for another Friday. We can’t wash laundry or clean our houses. We are unhappy. We are pleading with the municipality to give us running water,” said Malefathlo. She said the water supplied by the water truck was “brown in colour” and the desperate need for water meant fights sometimes broke out when the water truck arrived. “On Friday, as old as I am, I have to run with a wheelbarrow to the tank before the water finishes,” she said.
Following deaths from an outbreak of cholera in Hammanskraal, which was similarly supplied by water trucks, she was scared of an outbreak of the disease in Itireleng. According to residents, the single tank serves about 300 people.
Resident Sesi Mafhungo said she never thought they would have to fight over water in 2023. “We make long queues here on Fridays just to access water. It’s a painful sight. There are just too many people dependent on this one JoJo tank and it’s not okay,” said Mafhungo. She said the municipality had promised to restore tap water but nothing had happened.
In June last year, over 200 residents of Hebron, within which Itireleng village is situated, protested over the lack of water. Madibeng Mayor Douglas Maimane told furious protesters that the embattled municipality was struggling to pay its water debt to the City of Tshwane.
Madibeng Local Municipality spokesperson Tumelo Tshabalala said Itireleng village is supplied with water from the City of Tshwane. He said illegal connections on the main pipeline supplying the reservoir for Itireleng village result in higher lying areas “not getting water”.
Tshabalala said water can only be restored once illegal connections have been removed. Questions as to the debt Madibeng owes the City of Tshwane for water provision were not answered.