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Water crisis a burden to North West residents

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Residents of Mokgola Village are speaking out against the ongoing water crisis and have taken it a step further by opening a case with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

The residents of Mokgola Village in Zeerust are without water, a situation that has persisted since 2006. Residents of the North West village embarked on enormous protests in 2018, calling for the resignation of the then premier, Supra Mahumapelo, who eventually resigned. The water crisis was raised as the main cause of the outrage.

Sam Khumalo, who is in his 60s, is an ex-employee of the local water supply department and says that it was the community which initiated its own water infrastructure in 1999. The provincial government later recruited a few locals to train them for maintenance, development and administration. The community worked with Botshelo Water until 2006.

“Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality assumed the bills and services around 2005, we were paid a stipend of R500 monthly, which came from regular contribution of the villagers,” said Khumalo.

Khumalo believes that the situation became worse when the municipality got involved because the water issues became a political focus instead of a human rights focus. He is confident that there is water available, which needs skills and money to be pumped.

Political Analysis South Africa spoke to a learner from Mashwelwa Primary School who claimed that the toilets are always without water, which induces learners to use pit toilets or relieve themselves in an open space. They are also not able to wash their hands after coming from the germ-infested toilets, which all poses a health hazard.

The pupils from the village have to carry two litres of water each for daily use, and this is done during what is supposed to be a productive learning day. Simon Mojafi, also in his 60s, said “our village has been deteriorating from 1994 and there are no signs of improvement, we have no choice but to go and vote for change.”

One community leader confirms that he has opened a case with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and it has responded positively by recently sending a delegation to investigate the matter. The villagers have placed their last hope on the central government, which has assumed the administration of their municipality, and they are hopeful that the situation will change for the better.

Kenneth Mokgatlhe
[email protected]

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