/ 13 March 2023

No diesel to run pump for R6m Eastern Cape water project

Water Pump
Lack of diesel to run a water pump to fill this tank is one of the reasons taps have stayed dry in Mnyamaneni, despite nearly R6-million spent on a water project since 2020. Photo: Nombulelo Damba-Hendrik

Nearly R6-million has been spent on the Mnyamaneni village water project near Matatiele in the Eastern Cape, but taps are dry because there is no diesel to power a generator for the water pump.

Started in 2020, a project to supply and reticulate water throughout the village received R1.5 million from a Covid intervention and additional funding of R4.3 million from the Water Services Infrastructure Grant, according to Alfred Nzo district municipality spokesperson Lixolile Petela.

The project was completed. Water has to be pumped from a dam to a tank but there is no diesel for the generator. 

Matatiele local municipality spokesperson Luncedo Walaza said the residents want the Alfred Nzo district municipality to connect the pumps throughout the area to the electricity grid.

Alfred Nzo deputy mayor Nomasomi Mshuqwana, who is from Mnyamaneni village, said the villagers do have spring water and the river. She said they would work with the villagers to rehabilitate springs and plan a “sustainable water supply”.

“Most people here have bought water tanks, but for us who do not have children who are working in cities, we are using drums to collect rainwater,” said villager Masithathu Mbele.

She said people fetch water at night or early in the morning before livestock reach the river.

“We struggle a lot when we have funerals because we are forced to hire a tractor to get us water from the dam,” she said. This can cost between R800 and R1 500.

“This project was handed over to the community while they knew the pumps were not working,” complained villager Zoleka Moya. “Not a single drop of water came out of those taps.”

This is not the only abandoned, unfinished or failed water project in Matatiele, despite hundreds of millions being spent on water supply projects in the area. On 16 November 2020, Groundup reported that the taps of 17 villages in the Matatiele area had never seen water. Yet R254 million was allocated for two projects to provide water to these villages.

This article first appeared in GroundUp.