Despite water tankers being dispatched to communities of Brandfort on a daily basis during a recent water crisis, locals raised their frustration and unhappiness over a “lack of urgency” in water supply. While hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life of the late South African struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at the Majwemasweu’s Ipeleng Community Hall during the provincial memorial service on Monday, others were queueing on the streets with buckets for their daily water rations.
Brandfort formed part of Winnie’s home for 10 years after she was banished to the town with her daughter Zindzi between 1977 and 1986. Standing in the queue for water near the community hall was Masello Moloi who told Dumelang News that her tap has been dry for the past two weeks and few days now.
“I have been collecting water from the water tank for the past two weeks and sometimes even this tanker does not come which leaves us without water to wash, drink or cook,” she said “Nothing is being said to us as to why we do not have water for such a long time or when we would likely to be supplied with water again… no one says anything. It is frustrating that we now have to share 40 litres of water with my family for two to three days before the next water tank arrives,” she said.
It is alleged that the water problem started two weeks ago when the water pump panel burst which according to speaker of Masilonyana Local Municipality, Dimakatso Modise, was fixed but broke again after a day. She told The New Age that “We found a water pump panel in Kimberly...and we hope that it’s the solution for our people. We are still supplying water to them with water tankers and we are also assisted by Sedibeng Water (sic)”.
Inside the memorial service, speakers – including ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe – raised concerns over the lack of communication between municipality and communities. He said when he was deployed to Brandfort, nothing was said to him about the water situation until last Sunday. “It seems there is no communication between the municipality and community members here, and that also means if you can go for three weeks without water, whether it is a problem with pipes or anything, you need to communicate. I apologise to the people of Brandfort for that,” said Mantashe.
Free State premier, Sisi Ntombela, warned councillors that there will be consequences for the lack communication with community members. “People should always be informed of any problem that affects them and the process taken to resolve that. If you keep quiet, then you are creating another problem which will result in dire consequences,” said Ntombela.