LERORO – The community of this remote township is on the brink of despair with their ongoing shortage of water which has spurned for the past 10 and even more years with no solution in sight.
Instead, their taps have run really dry with a number of boreholes in existence, but dysfunctional and others only providing water to the Leroro Police Station while the community struggles to make ends meet on how to afford buying water from water trucks which sell it for R500 to fill up a water tank.
On September 11, Mpumalanga Mirror was invited to a community gathering led by Gregory Mashile where various residents voiced out how for the past two weeks, they’ve not been receiving water with water tankers having disappeared.
“We don’t have water to drink, bath or to do the laundry. As it is, we don’t know where water will come from and we’re stranded. The municipality did not inform us about what is happening in the past two weeks. We just want water, nothing more. Is it so difficult to provide residents with basic needs?
“I did not even bath this morning, where was I supposed to get the water from? We’re not asking for much, but water. Various boreholes are in the area, but they are not functioning. There are pensioners in the area who are suffering because of the lack of water. What frustrates us the most is the fact that we’re in the dark and no one is accounting for what is happening,” said Ida Raboa Marule.
An elder in the community, Barney Sedibe also vented out his frustration that he has to sacrifice some of his pension grant money to buy water that costs him R500 to fill up his Jojo tank. He also pointed out that there are two water tankers stationed at the police station, however, they are not of assistance in time of need to the community.
“Some of us are pensioners and we can’t walk long distances to get water when the water tankers are not servicing the community. No one knows what happened to them and the municipality did not even communicate that to us.”
Response from the municipality:
Spokesperson, Themba Sibiya said the water tankers were used as an intervention against the Covid-19 pandemic donated by the Department of Water and Sanitation.
“The tankers were withdrawn at the end of August 2020. The Municipality is at an advanced stage to procure one replacement water tanker that will be used to service the area,” said Sibiya.
On non-functional boreholes, he said Leroro is one of the driest villages in the northern areas such that some of the boreholes had to be abandoned due to not having enough yield or groundwater while other boreholes were never commissioned.
“There are currently two approved projects with one already launched aimed at augmenting water supply in the area. This will be done through drilling boreholes in areas with reasonable groundwater to ensure a sustained supply in the area.
“The proposed projects are funded by the Department of Human Settlements and the National Treasury through their COVID-19 relief budgets. The municipality will be responsible for maintaining them with its operational budget,” explained Sibiya.