Plumtree residents bemoaned the incessant water challenges in the area that have resulted in some residents with access to the precious liquid selling a bucket from prices ranging from 50c to $1.50 per 20L bucket to stranded fellow residents. This has fuelled conflict as some have gone to an extent of `owning` community boreholes much to the distaste of other residents.
This was revealed at a Public Interface Meeting held in Plumtree’s Dingumuzi Community Hall with women from ward 1 and 4. The meeting, conducted by Women`s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) sought to create a platform for duty bearers to interact with rights holders for accountable service and increased demand for participatory planning and monitoring in order to address issues of public service delivery.
“The money being taken from residents is for maintenance of the boreholes, and people are blowing things out of proportion and accusing ward 4 residents of being selfish,” said one woman fingered as a borehole “owner”.
Women who attended the meeting protested that this measure is not the duty of a fellow resident and suggested that Plumtree Town Council should intervene in the matter. The meeting also revealed how council needs a permanent solution because even when there is easy availability to water, some areas are not serviced and still cannot access water.
“As women, we need approximately eight 20L buckets to be able to cover the chores of a single day, imagine someone demanding $1.50 for each bucket in the name of maintenance,” said, a distraught young lady, Thokozile Ndlovu. “We demand that council repairs our borehole and drill more so that we are able to use resources from our ward and not be at the mercy of people capitalising on us,” she added.
Ward 1 has gone for more than 3 weeks with no water and the area’s Councillor Bigboy Magalane assured residents that council is making attempts to alleviate the challenge.
“Council is working on drilling 3 boreholes for ward 1 and ideally only one person has the authority to collect contributions for borehole repairs and these are usually 50c per month and not the exorbitant fees as reported,” said Councillor Magalane.
Residents also complained that there is no support from the local council when it comes to construction of toilets for the community. Women said it would make a huge difference if construction of rural blair toilets is considered so as to avoid the health time bomb associated with open defecation and water woes.
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