Residents of the Sol Plaatje Municipality in the Northern Cape have been left perplexed by the fact they still do not have running water – four days after they were told a new water pump would be fully operational, and seven after the supply was affected. Thousands of people in Kimberley have been forced to make the most of their limited resources.
When will the water return to Sol Plaatje?
Locals were advised to stock up on their supplies. They were told to get enough water to last them for 48 hours, starting last Wednesday. According to the municipality, the tie-in of the newly-established DN900 pump line was set to start after the old infrastructure was drained. Yet Friday came, and masses of households were left high and dry.
There would prove to be no relief over the weekend, and Monday was just the same. The “casual” nature of the governing municipality – and their failure to communicate effectively – has been condemned by the DA.
Hospitals, schools in Kimberley shutdown by the water shortages
Andrew Louw is the party’s leader in the Northern Cape. He criticised the ANC government for making “little effort to assist those who find themselves without water”, and explained the true extent of the crisis:
“Schools have been asking parents to urgently assist them with water for their learners. Never mind the situation at Kimberley Hospital, where toilets allegedly had to be flushed with bottled water and infection control has been severely affected, after the hospital’s water supplies are believed to have run dry last week already.”
“The communication by Sol Plaatje Municipality has amounted to a series of false promises that have simply not materialised. The current water crisis in Kimberley is more proof that Sol Plaatje municipality has become one of the worst run municipalities in this country. The situation has become untenable.”
A grim outlook
People have also reported that, when the water has been flowing again, the pressure is so small that washing machines and showers cannot function properly. Tuesday marks the seventh day since the taps went off, and many people will be waking up to the grim reality that their health, safety and hygiene has been severely compromised.
Several schools in the area sent children home on Monday afternoon. Like many residents of Kimberley, they were only prepared for two days of disruption – as promised by the Sol Plaatje Municipality. Provincial Premier Zamani Saul has held crisis talks with local government this week, as all parties scramble for a solution.