South Africa: Water Outage in Makhanda Sparks Protest

Makhanda residents protest after going for days without water.

Makhanda residents protested after being without water since last week.

Gift of the Givers stepped in to help.

The municipality says a blown gasket at a pump station is the cause and this will take a week to fix.

Residents said they are fed up with Makana Municipality.

Makhanda residents closed Albany Road with burning tyres on Monday morning. They had been without water since Thursday last week.

Makana Municipality said the problem was caused by the James Kleynhans Water Pump Station.

Gift of the Givers started delivering water to the affected areas.

Anthony Scheepers, who joined the protest, said, “We are tired of this municipality called Makana … We have to go and burn down that town hall. They getting fat salaries every month for doing nothing. We are suffering while they enjoy the taxpayers’ monies.”

“I didn’t go to work today because of this,” he said.

Elroy Plaatjies, “This is not new. The water problem here in Makhanda has been happening for years … I don’t have even a single bottle of water at home. I live with my wife and three small kids. I don’t know what we are going to drink and cook with today.”

Amanda Schoeman said she had missed school. “There is no water at home and I couldn’t wash my school uniform. I didn’t bath today because the little water we had at home was finished yesterday. I don’t know how we are going to survive if the situation carries on like this.

“My worry is that I am doing Grade 12 and schools were also delayed and opened late. Now we are going to miss classes because of the municipality’s fault.”

Nomfundo Twana said, “My child will only go to school once water comes back.”

According to the municipality, a gasket failed at the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works Pump Station and flooded the power station around midnight last Thursday.

“Our team tried by all means to save the situation but unfortunately could not win. As a result, our Botha’s Hill reservoirs are down, therefore leading to water supply challenges.”

The municipality estimated the problem would take a week to fix.

On Wednesday morning water started to return but at very low pressure.

“We are currently working at 50% capacity. We will proceed like this until Sunday,” said the Makana communications office.

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