My vreugdes en frustrasies


Reality in the land of the Rainbow Nation – no water

A woman carrying water on her head

Villagers in Mcungco near Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape have gone for weeks without clean drinking water. This is not the only community in South Africa suffering water shortages, notwithstanding the fact that the right to sufficient water is a basic human right and entrenched in the South African Constitution.

Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.
Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves.


We enter into a covenant that we shall build a society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

Nelson Mandela, EXTRACTS FROM Inaugural Address, Pretoria 9 May 1994.

REBLOGGED: Published originally on GroundUp

Crumbling infrastructure leaves Eastern Cape villagers without water

“We are lucky because we recently got rain”

By Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

29 March 2019

Photo of a woman walking with a bucket on her head
Villagers in Mcungo fetch water from a river since the taps ran dry in December 2018. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik


Villagers in Mcungco near Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape have gone for weeks without clean drinking water, and Chris Hani District Municipality says it will be another month before tap water is restored.

According to ward councillor Albertinah Rotyi (ANC), Cube village, a few kilometres away, is also affected. Water is piped from Cofimvaba to Qamata, then to Mcungco and Cube. She said the pipes are old and break.

According to the district head for engineering services, Lizeka Bongo-Tyali, an engine used to pump water to Mcungco broke down last year. “But as we speak we bought a new engine and we are busy installing it,” she said. This will take a month.

A water truck has been sent twice since December; the last time at the end of January. Rotyi said the water trucks have to travel from Queenstown over 80km away. In the meantime, villagers rely on rain water and water from a river.

Resident Fakashe Mpolo said, “We are lucky now because we recently got rain. People here are really struggling.” He said the village has many elderly people who live alone and cannot fetch water from the river or afford to hire people to fetch water for them. “Cows drink there and pigs swim there.”

Another resident, who identified herself only as Mandala, said the water from the water trucks was “dirty water but it was better than nothing”. But she said, “We were not going to complain.” She is 63, diabetic, has high blood pressure, and lives one kilometre from the river. She pays youngsters R20 to fetch water for her.

She was in hospital when it rained. “For us who missed the rain we have no other option – we must hire the boys to get us water,” she said.

Published originally on GroundUp.

© 2019 GroundUp.
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  1. Ek kan nie daardie “like” nie. Onbeholpenheid, maar die ergste, van daardie foto, is die verskriklike erosie. Van daardie land, is daar niks meer oor nie en nutteloos vir enigiets. Tragies.

    • Comment by post author


      Dis waar Danie. Dis juis die gronerosiew wat daarop dui dat ons natuurlike bronne nie reg aangewend word nie en die mense bly onopgevoed.

  2. Ai dit maak my sommer boos!

  3. Climate change got horrible effects.

    Hope more rain will help these people.

    Kind regards,

    • This is not due to climate change. It is total neglect of infrastructure and planning, due to corruption and incompetent people in positions, where they shouldn’t be. It is time to stop being politically correct and call problems by their real name.

      • Comment by post author


        Unfortunately this is the harsh truth. These people are dirt poor, downtrodden and they have nowhere else to go, and nobody to stand up for them. Through ignorance they will keep on voting for the same government because they believe the empty promises, and votes are bought by dishing out t-shirts and food hampers just before the election. The world is a sick place.

  4. This is a tragedy repeated countrywide – especially in the rural areas.

    • Comment by post author


      Yes Anne, it is the tragic truth that thousands of people in rural area do not have access to clean water. All due to poorly maintained infrastructure.

  5. What a sad picture, dear Hester! You should order snow from Russia to cover the needs of local people. Imagine, it is already April, but it is about 0 and it is still snowing! The climate is getting anomalic indeed. 🙂

    • Comment by post author


      🙂 It will be all melted by the time it gets here. Unfortunately the lack of water is not due to too little or no natural resources – it is due to bad management, poor maintenance of infrastructure and a general “we don’t give a damn about the people” attitude on the Goverment’s side.

  6. Hartseer, harde feite.

  7. Ja, en dan moet ons nou verkiesing hou. Mag daar verandering kom as mense tog by die stembus begin. Versugting.

  8. Dit breek mens se hart

    • Comment by post author


      Dit is verskriklik. Ek het nou so pas ‘n berig gelees dat die polisie hier by Port Edward se kant protesaksies opgebreek het deur rubberkoeëls af te vuur op die mense. Hulle het nie water nie! Nou word daar Jojo tenks belowe. Hemel tog.

  9. Regtig baie sad om te lees

  10. Ek is so moeg vir die gemors, so beter om my mond toe te hou. 😑

    • Comment by post author


      Ek, aan die ander kant, wil gil soos ‘n maervark as ek lees hoe mense sukkel sonder water. Ons het ook al ‘n paar keer waterlose dae deurgemaak, maar ons het Jojo tanks in ons kompleks om ons deur die ergste te sien. Daai arme mense het geen waterbron behalwe ‘n vuil rivier of dalk reënwater wanneer dit reën nie.

  11. Wanneer daar water is, dan kry ons beurtkrag en die reservoirs loop leeg. But what so you know, come electionday, we will vote for our beloved anc.

  12. I’m afraid those words at the top of the post are only eye-blind! I have long realised to check if the sun is shining when Nelson Mandela said “good morning!”
    Here’s a post I did in 2014… nuff said!

    • Comment by post author


      Ek het dit gaan lees, dankie. En nou, nog vyf jaar later, kan ons nou maar finaal vir mekaar sê hierdie land is in sy maai. Ek het ‘n blog geskryf (nie gepubliseer nie, want ek is te boosaardig kwaad) oor ‘n voorval waar ‘n klomp protesteerders naby Port Edward met rubberkoeëls geskiet is. Ja, hulle het skade aangerig maar kyk na die storie agter die storie – hulle het al maande lank nie water nie. Die munisipaliteit verroer nie ‘n vinger nie, bring nie eens water in per trok nie, maar hulle gaan in Julie hulle tariewe verhoog met 20%. Dis ‘n hele korrupte spul en die swakste administrasie wat ek in my lewe aanskou het. Die polisie mors rubberkoeëls op die verkeerde mense.