Desperation after weeks without water

Messrs. Jomo Mogale (MMC responsible for electricity, gas and water) and Toko Lesotho (municipal official) at the place where illegal miners broke a main water pipe near Rest in Peace.
Messrs. Jomo Mogale (MMC responsible for electricity, gas and water) and Toko Lesotho (municipal official) at the place where illegal miners broke a main water pipe near Rest in Peace.

Some areas of Khutsong have been without running water for the past two weeks.

The Herald heard last week that residents of Khutsong’s Batswaneng Section and some adjacent areas have not had water since about 14 May. The latest problems follow other complaints of water shortages that have been going on for the best part of the month, especially in the Batswaneng area.

When the Herald visited the Khutsong area this week, many residents complained that they had no water. They said could not carry out normal household tasks and did not even have water to drink. At times, some residents were so desperate that they did their washing in whatever water they could find.

Although municipal water tankers did deliver water to the affected areas, many residents still had to get water from friends or family for their daily tasks. Those with-out transport or who could not travel far found the situation extremely difficult.

Some of the illegal electricity connections that caused the electric pump at the main reservoir at Khutsong Extension 3 to burn out.

Some of the illegal electricity connections that caused the electric pump at the main reservoir at Khutsong Extension 3 to burn out.

After the Herald contacted the Merafong City Local Municipality about the shortages, it emerged that an automatic electric pump at the main reservoir at Khutsong’s Extension 3 had burnt out because of illegal electrical connections at the pump’s power supply. This was not the last of the water woes, however. When the first problem was resolved and water was circulating again late on 18 May, municipal employees found that illegal miners had damaged the main water line while digging at the back of the Khutsong graveyard.

“We had to shut off that line as we were losing a lot of water, but it is now being repaired,” a municipal spokesperson said on 20 May. When the Herald visited the site with Mr Jomo Mogale, the member of the mayoral committee responsible for electricity, gas and water last Thursday, he pointed out several illegal electrical connections at the main reservoir that had caused the burn out. He also showed where the illegal miners had dug open and damaged the pipe.

At the time, Mogale said clamps that had been ordered from Germiston were expected to arrive on Friday, after which the damaged line would be repaired. Even this was not to be the end of the trouble. While the water supply was apparently restored briefly on Saturday, it had once again dried up later that day. By Tuesday morning, supply to Batswaneng households had still not been restored.

“Community members were responsible for both of the water shortages in the Khutsong area. The first incident was due to illegal mining activity and the second was when a hole for a pit latrine was being dug. The matters were both sorted out,” a municipal spokesperson said late on Tuesday afternoon.

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