Despite the appeal from Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, to municipalities to suspend water cuts because it impinged on the basic right of residents to access clean water during the coronavirus crisis, while at the same time hindering government’s effort to fight the pandemic, the call seems to have fallen on deaf ears in Cape Town.
Vukani has been receiving calls from many Gugulethu residents about their water supply being cut off.
Last week pensioner Sipinki Mary-Ann Sokopo, 65, had her water cut off. She appealed to the newspaper to intervene because she has always been up to date with her water payments.
In the same week, last Friday, another Gugulethu pensioner called to say he fears diseases because he has no water. The pensioner said he fears that he might catch the coronavirus.
The 72-year-old Lumkile Mboso said living without water for months is no joke.
Talking to Vukani at his home, Mr Mboso said since the lockdown he had no water at home. “How are we supposed to fight the coronavirus if your water is cut off?” asked the Gugulethu resident. He said his water has been off for for more than two months now.
Mr Mboso is outraged that the City of Cape Town continues with water cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He admitted that his water is supposed to be restricted to 25 litres per day but he was shocked when it was totally cut off in February. “My water is completely cut off. How are we going to cope going forward? Isn’t the City supposed to give grace to people during this time? Imagine a toilet inside the house without water. I must now go out to seek a toilet somewhere. This is ridiculous,” said Mr Mboso.
He worries that he has to use his pension to buy water at the supermarket.
“Life is unfair. I went to the City to negotiate in December. All was well until the end of January. In February, they completely cut off the water. I tried to ask and I was told that I have two accounts. Apparently there is another account that is linked to mine. But I am not sure why they are not sorting that out. That should not happen. It is strange,” he said.
Mr Mboso has collected a couple of water bottles that he keeps handy to fill when he can. “I have no choice but to spend my money on buying water instead of food. Imagine the R1 800 (pension) spread to food and water. I need to have 25 litres for the toilet and another for dishes. That means I cannot wash properly. Then there’s the fear of this coronavirus hitting us. I will be exposed dearly to it,” he said.
In the meantime, the senior citizen has no option but to buy water from shops, as the City has not solved his problem.
He has to limit himself to one bath a week due to the water shortage.
Vukani has contacted the City, who said it is investigating the matter and will respond when it has concluded its investigation.