Tunatazama - Community Monitors

The Water Crisis in Ekhuruleni by Gugu Nkabinde

Many people have lost their lives during Service Delivery protests while the Constitution of South Africa states that everyone is entitled to a life lived with  dignity” and it proceeds to outline some of the basic resources to which all must have access to, mainly, access to clean water. Many people in Ekurhuleni reports to having queue for up to 10 hours for water.

The recent dispute in several townships and Municipalities because of absent or inadequate water supply, have resulted to death of some people in the rioting communities. The ugly excessive police force in dealing with some of those protests have tendency to turn violent has again took lives of two people in Endicott (South of Springs) when the community of Thandokwethu wanted to address the tap they are using ….. the latest victim was 36 years old. The man according to community members and fellow protesters was shot in the head by police.

Since Brinch Company established itself in Endicott near Thandokuhle community the water problem started. When communities decide to see the Municipality on the 14th April 2014, they were met with securities turned their back on them and told them to make an appointment by writing a letter which they did on the 16th April 2014. On the 30th April, the Thandolwethu community decided to take action by marching to the Municipal offices. They had a memorandum to give out but no one came to receive it, people were angry and they decided to attack the Municipal offices in Springs. The municipality was under fire. The situation remained tense as the police are still angry with the Municipality.

The memorandum also exposed claims of corruption and sabotage done by the Brich Company which uses a lot of water in the area and the community is left without water because it believes that their councillor is trading shares within the company in question. The situation remains tense and the law enforcers who are acting in … of their mandate in terms of section 205 of the constitution to keep public order but they use live ammunition to keep order which does not make sense.

The problems townships or communities are facing in Ekurhuleni Municipalities have no proper functioning water service mainly due to shortage of skilled staff. Infrastructure is gradually deteriorating and there is a worrying decline in the quality of Municipal water and also that it is becoming more difficult, complex and expensive to purify drinking water.

The future is bleakk for the communities as Ekurhuleni Municipality is planning on installing prepaid water meters even before they fix the leaks in the pipes underground. We need to form a united community group in Ekurhuleni and write a petition directed to the president, followed by protest march to try and save water which is our basic right. The struggle continues.