Communities urged to stop illegal water connections

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
By: 
Siphiwe Nyathi

Bela Bela - Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi has urged members of the public to stop any illegal connections and share water equally.

Mabudafhasi was visiting the community of Rapotokwane near Bela Bela on Tuesday, where she officially opened boreholes that have been rehabilitated as part of the department's augmentation and water shortage intervention.

“We are aware of the plight that the community of Rapotokwane is experiencing due to insufficient groundwater. However, the little water that is available is consumed by invasive alien plants and illegal connections, amongst others," said Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi.

"I appeal to the community to stop illegal connections, as the existing water infrastructure is meant for communal standpipes not yard connections.”

The deputy minister said the event came at the time when the department was also observing National Water Week, which is celebrated from March 17 to 23 under the theme ‘Celebrating 20 years of Water Delivery for Social and Economic Development’.

She said the department worked with the Bela Bela local municipality to refurbish seven boreholes including a hand pump, while two boreholes were currently being refurbished.

“We are confident that these two boreholes will also be operational in no time as part of our short term solution to the water challenges in this area," Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

The deputy minister said South Africa was losing 37% of water through leaks, which translates to R7 billion per year.

She said the department initiated the War on Leaks project, which is currently being implemented at different municipalities across the country.

She said the project is aimed at eradicating water leaks in households, schools, clinics and other public buildings, training of unemployed youth with basic plumbing skills and job creation.

“I appeal to all water users to use it wisely and sparingly. Water can be made available but if we do not conserve it we will still experience challenges,” Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi said.

A resident from Rapotokwane village, Lazarus Ledwaba, said the area had struggled for a long time without clean water.

"Finally, our community will now have running water. The long walk to fetch water will be a thing of the past if we protect our boreholes and conserve our water," Ledwaba said. – SAnews.gov.za