MOUTSE: It seems like there is no end in sight in the struggle to get potable water for residents of Moutse, with the long standing acute shortage of water still standing, subjecting the majority resorting to nearest streams and rivers to fetch drinking water. Previously, residents staged a number of protests including shutting down Moutse several times with hopes of sending a message to government, however, relevant authorities turned a blind eye in their plight. Residents accuse Sekhukhune District Municipality and Lepelle Northern Water of wasting R143 Million, commissioned by Minister of Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu, early last year to provide water in the draught stricken Moutse Villages, through the implementation of Moutse Draught Relief Projects. Lepelle Northern Water was appointed as implementing agent of the Moutse Draught Relief Projects. The projects were mainly to provide 20 Water tanker trucks, provision of 2000 water storage tanks with stands, drilling and equipping new boreholes and refurbishment of old ones to be enable them to be fully functional and provide water to the people. According to residents, there is still inadequate water supply in the area as the projects progress in a snail pace. A community member, Bushy Mamaba from Lusaka in Moutse, said the communal water storage tanks, which were installed in the villages, were not provided with a single drop of water since November 2020. “We haven’t had water for many years and were hoping that the tanks will end our misery of drinking water with animals but it seems like is far from over. It was not a permanent solution but it could have helped a lot,” he said. Mamba said it has been many years now since Sekhukhune District Municipality has been struggling to meet the demands for water, despite interventions by Minister Sisulu.
“There are rumours that the money provided by the minister is finished without completing the projects, which is mainly taken by corrupt officials in the municipality,” he said. Mamba said they are forced to drink water from unprotected streams and those who have money resort to buying water from residents who own boreholes. “We spend R2 for a 25 litres to fill a 25 litres container. For some the money is nothing but for others who are not working the money is too much and they can’t afford to pay it. Some have to go days without taking a bath because they have to save the little water they have to cook and drink. They have to save the little water they have as taking a bath has becoming a luxury for them,” he said. Mamba said apart from the struggle of water, there are other poor service delivery issues affecting the community. “Our roads are in a very bad state and being maintained only when there is a funeral. Is like they are waiting for us to die before they can fix our roads,” he said. Sekhukhune District Municipality Mayoral Spokesperson, Isaac Mahlakwane, said all Moutse villages are in the same scheme and were getting water from the dried up Mkhombo Dam which was the only water source in the area. Mahlakwane did not rule out allegations that the Moutse Draught Relief Project is currently on hold and said it is due to disputes between Lepelle Northern Water and Department of Water and Sanitation. “The long-term solution to provide water involves completion of Moutse Bulk Water Project from Groblersdal Water Treatment Works, which is a separate project from the R143 allocation,” he said. Mahlakwane said Lusaka is part of Ward 7 in Elias Motsoaledi which is scheduled to be provided with water every Thursday through water tankering as part of short-term intervention.

Bushy Mamba, a community member from Lusaka Village in Moutse, standing next to the empty water storage tank that was installed in November 2020. Sekhukhune District Municipality haven’t provide water in the tank since its installation
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