Eight water trucks disabled amidst crisis

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Community members who are protesting a water crisis in QwaQwa in the Free State, allegedly stole the batteries of at least eight water tanker trucks, estimated to the value of R16 500, on Saturday 7 February 2020.

OFM reports that police spokesperson Motantsi Makhele confirmed the tankers belong to the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality. The tankers were issued by the Department of Water and Sanitation to help reduce water scarcity and supply many areas.

Makhele says it is alleged that those water tanker trucks were parked inside the yard of the Maluti-a-Phofung Firestation when the incident occurred. He further adds everything was in order when the truck drivers knocked off on Friday afternoon.Then, on Saturday morning, the drivers came in and inspected the trucks only to notice the batteries were missing. A case has been opened and the police are investigating.

The spokesperson of the Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, also confirms the theft and said this comes as a shock and disappointment. He says this act of criminality was done to ensure the people don’t receive the necessary support and services needed during the ongoing water shortages. Meanwhile, the total shutdown protest leaders in the area said they will embark on further protests this week for running water as they don’t want the Jojos and water tankers. Ratau says this will also cause a delay in the work Sedibeng Water is supposed to do. He urges people of Qwaqwa to allow some space for Sedibeng Water to work in the manner it was directed and communicated.

Minister of Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, availed a total of R220 million late last year to Sedibeng Water to manage it and develop the infrastructure needed to ensure the water shortage in Qwaqwa is addressed. Ratau says the residents need to be more patient, however, it seems they have had enough.

OFM News/MARVIN NTSANE