Forderville residents plea for a water transformation

Mayor Jabulile Mbele, Ward 10 Councillor Edith Lite and Michael Singh note down complaints and suggestions raised at the follow-up water meeting held Monday evening.

Wards 10, 17 and 18 have been experiencing endless water issues’ dating back to May 2016 and to date no permanent solution has been put in place.

An informal meeting was called for by Forderville residents on August 25, in search of answers and a solution.
On Monday evening, a follow up meeting was held at the Forderville Hall.

ALSO READ: Follow-up water meeting this evening

All concerned and affected residents attended and the meeting that began at 6.25 pm. The purpose of the meeting was announced by Ward Councillor Edith Lite after welcoming the residents.

The meeting was hosted to address the high rated water bills, issues pertaining to the Forderville water shortages and the indigent water policy.

Michael Singh the regulator at the Department of Water and Sanitation was present at the meeting and said that most of the issues have been caused by aging asbestos cement piping, illegal connections, valves and burst pipes.

Added to this is the reservoir that received no upgrade, yet more connections have been made and the area developed. No officials were present from Uthukela District Municipality.

READ THIS: Locals up in arms over water issue

Since April this year, there has been a break in the water supply to the Forderville area, which also affected Colita.  At the previous meeting, it was agreed that the past issues concerning the water will be forgotten and authorities and residents would jointly work toward a way forward.

The short-term solutions agreed upon still have not been put into place and this frustrated residents further.
Since the informal meeting, Mr Singh reported that progress was being made, substantiating that areas that did not receive water began to receive supply.

The service provider of the current project was on site the day after the meeting attending to various issues. Although the supply was not stable, some households receive water to outside taps and not taps within their homes yet. While others get no water during the peak demand periods – being in the morning and towards the evening.

“Challenges still exist in the higher lying areas,” acknowledged Mr Singh.

While taking comments and questions from the residents, Mr Roy said he felt that the municipality let the future generation down, as they fail to have water supplied to Forderville Primary School.

ALSO READ: Why should we continue paying for water

He reiterated that Uthukela District Municipality has a great lack of respect for its customers. Each sentiment raised was welcomed by applause from the other attendees.

“To date, the public don’t have answers. You need to be our voice that is why we voted you in. You could have communicated with us via the newspaper.

“You have failed in your mandate, if you can’t fulfil your mandate, make it known to us,” said Dr Chotoo directing this to Ward 10 Councillor Edith Lite.

Next, Ms Gunkel shared that she attempted calling Uthukela 18 times on Sunday evening with no response. She also mentioned that the water tanker arrived at her home at 11pm and since she had no water, she had to make it her duty to get water.

“It is our water! Send it back to Estcourt, we need our water. I am not victimising you, Edith but get up and do something about this. Water is not negotiable,” she exclaimed.

Forderville Primary School Principal Mr Sookraj said that he hosted the 24-hour CanSA Relay for Life on September 2 and 3 without water. The event was attended by just over 3 000 people. When he pointed out the problem to Uthukela, he was told to get a plumber.

“It is costing us lots of money to buy water…each lesson is planned at the school and with this problem, how are we going to replace the knowledge the learners are missing out on?” asked Mr Sookraj.

After Mr Singh responded to what he could, Councillor Lite welcomed the criticism and vowed to take full ownership of ensuring the water issues are addressed with the urgency it deserves. She added that she will update residents via the Forderville Water Updates WhatsApp chat group and the Estcourt News.

Councillor Lite also said she believes the issue stems from Uthukela failing to plan. Other issues such as the poor unprofessional customer service by uThukela was all noted.

Councillor Lite mentioned that water bills are in the process of being written off and some already have been.
Recommendations were also made note of to present to the Mayor of UThukela.

During the Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality Mayor’s address, Mrs Mbele said:

“We take full responsibility of this water project.”

She also commended the chat group, which gives out water updates and added that communication is vital in such a situation.

In closing, she told the attendees that it worries her that the reservoir is not sufficient and that it is important for the two municipalities to work together.

One resident was heard saying:

“After all these meetings, we still remain without water.”

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Danielle Greaves

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