- Frequent hand washing and high hygiene standards are paramount in the fight against Covid-19
- The government vowed to ensure communities have access to water amid the pandemic in SA
- However, Bushbuckridge residents insist that the water tanks that were dropped off aren't going to cut it
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By Yvonne Silaule - Freelance journalist
Despite the means initiated by government to distribute water through JoJo Tanks for people to use during the Covid-19 outbreak, the scourge seems to be stuck with the residents of Bushbuckridge.
Despite Covid-19, the community of Bushbuckridge for many years has had challenging stories about their water scarcity.
36-year-old Brighton Charlie, one of the residents, said the two tanks were recently installed in his vicinity are unable to cater for many people.
“Where I stay we have always had a challenge of water, even when the entire Bushbuckridge has water. Since the JoJos were erected close to our homes, we thought half the part of our water issues are solved, but they is not.
“We appreciate the gesture made by government of going around and erecting JoJos in a spirit to curb Covid-19 but it goes to show that these tanks are not enough.
"Government has placed these tanks in places it felt the water was highly needed but clearly the challenge is way much deeper as people from other villages are also coming to fetch the water meant for us,” he said.
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Charlie said that he is one of the people without enough containers to store water and uses a wheelbarrow to fetch his water. Charlie is upset that the people coming from other villages come driving cars and bring a lot of containers to draw most of the water.
“When they come to draw water from a 10 000-litre tank to use, some for their own construction businesses, all the water is gone and we are left with nothing while the water truck comes once a week as per schedule, we are left dry until it returns to offload more water,” said Charlie
Charlie said that these challenges contribute to the threat of contacting Covid-19 as some residents are propelled to wake up at midnight or at the earliest dawn to fetch water in the middle of the night, catching cold in the process.
“Maybe the tanks need to be erected in every street around the villages mostly hit by water challenges. Our lives are at risk because when we wake up in the middle of the night to fetch water, we are choked by the cold that also creates a potential for us to contract coronavirus and this is a major worry,” said Charlie.
Sputnik Ratau, spokesperson for the Mpumalanga Department of Water and Sanitation, said that the water tanks are a temporary measure to bring services to people who are still unserved with water supply.
“The water tank intervention does not take away the responsibilities of local government to reticulate water. The shortage of water is caused by the lack of rain due to the winter season and the Inyaka Dam, where the community of Bushbuckridge generates water from, is declining,” said the Spokesperson.
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