18 August 2021
Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, no longer has reliable tap water for its residents. For more than a month, taps have kept running dry in most parts of the town. Municipal water tankers are scarce. People are buying water or walking to places where there still is some supply. There are three active boreholes.
“This is one of the longest periods our taps have run dry. Imagine every day fetching water from the taxi rank and carrying a 25-litre container on my head,” said Nyasha Basera. She lives opposite the Spar in town.
“I need almost five 25-litre containers for the day. The day I do laundry, I need almost ten 25-litres. If the communal tap at the taxi rank runs dry, we have to buy from those who have boreholes – 25-litres costs R5.”
“What is most disturbing is we have to travel to the taxi rank to relieve ourselves,” she said.
Basera said she rarely sees any tankers delivering water in the town.
Without a constant water supply, many small and informal businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
Martha Maluleke, who has worked at the Makhado Inn for ten years, now fears she will lose her job if the water situation persists. Business has gone down, she said. “If there is no tap water, most clients do not book rooms.”
The Inn has two jojo tanks. They are not connected to the bathrooms. “This is heavy work for me, cleaning the bathrooms and the rooms fetching water from the jojo tanks,” she said.
Justice Baloyi, who runs a food stall at the Shoprite taxi rank in town, said, “Customers need to wash their hands before and after eating, so I drive around in town seeking water from friends … By the time I come back, some customers may have left. This is my only way of earning a living.” He has three children to support.
Wilmarie Mudumbi runs a pre-school. There is a borehole but it is not connected to the bathrooms. “I have 13 kids to look after. Imagine using a bucket every time each of the children visits the toilets,” she said.
Matodzi Ralushai, Vhembe District Municipality spokesperson, confirmed that residential areas and the central business district are experiencing water shortages. Ralushai said it is due to the ageing infrastructure of the Albasini water scheme.
Ralushai said water tankers are distributed according to requests by ward councillors and community structures.
“The completion of the Mowkop reservoir project, which is in progress, will be a solution to the problem,” said Ralushai.
The Mowkop project was meant to have been completed by June 2019.