Appeal to end water nightmare

EVERY day hundreds of Missionvale residents line up to fill containers with water from just three communal taps. Some residents push wheelbarrows with 25-litre containers and others carry 20-litre buckets up to a kilometre. The taps – all in bad condition and leaking – serve more than 2000. Resident Ayabonga Matata, 24, said she used the water for cooking, bathing and doing the laundry. "It is better during the day because a lot of people are out looking for work or are at work and the children are at school. "But after 5pm there is a long queue. You have to come with your own pipes and pliers to get water into containers," Matata said. Tamara Phukatha, 55, said it would be great to have taps in each yard. "It becomes difficult when we have to fetch water at night. It is not safe, especially for women. We thought that after 1994 our lives were going to change for the better. "That was just wishful thinking because it is only now that they are building houses for us," she said. "We are still using a toilet bucket system and sewage is flowing all over the streets. For now they should fix these three taps because some of us don't even have pliers." And it is not just residents who use the taps – contractors also fill up containers which are so big they have to be transported on bakkies. A builder who asked not to be named said: "This costs us a lot of time because we are not the only ones using these taps. Residents also get irritated when we bring our big containers because it takes a lot of time. There is nothing we can do because they also need these houses we are building." DA ward 31 councillor Penny Naidoo said she had lodged "numerous complaints ... to no avail". She added: "The three taps are either damaged by contractors or vandalised." Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the municipality was simultaneously working on the installation of services, construction of houses and storm water drainage infrastructure. "When all these have been completed we are hoping for every household to have running water inside their houses and yards while those who are still waiting for houses will still use the communal taps." Mniki also blamed vandals and thieves and called for the community to help stamp out these problems.