11 January 2016
Moletjie, a dusty South African village within the Polokwane region of the Limpopo Province, is home to William Lekoloane. The middle aged man, with his worn out white cap that still provides cover from the burning sun, is part of the local community water committee.
Upon hearing of our arrival at the Mabokelele section of Moletjie, he hurriedly dropped all his work and rushed to meet the Salaamedia team in the home of the local Induna (leader). The Induna was not available at the time and being a senior member of the water committee, Mr Lekoloane understood the importance of the meeting. People had come to discuss the lack of water to thousands of people in his neighbourhood.
For years the area had been without any decent water supply. Whether it was a good rainy season or not, it made no difference, as the crisis here was largely a man made one.
“Shortage of skills in financial management, inadequate water service infrastructure, inadequate human resource for water service delivery, lack of co-operation between the Polokwane Municipality and community participation,” were some of the reasons for this tragedy documented by researcher, Kwena France Manamela, in his Masters dissertation to the University of Turfloop already in 2010.
Private borehole owners and water merchants have used the opportunity to make money. “They set their own prices,” said Mr Lekoloane. “200 litres costs R20 ($1.30). This will last for 3 days, shared among 3 people.” A high price to pay in rural community where many struggle to survive economically.
While water for drinking and cooking has always been a priority in this scorching part of South Africa, it is also essential for sanitation and overall cleanliness. The area has been using pit latrines and any shortage of even the very little water they have, has been a stepping stone to a health disaster.
Moletjie itself has three additional zones to Mabokelele, each with its own demanding water needs. That it is government’s responsibility to provide clean accessible water to its citizens is a must but in the event of this not becoming a reality for so many years, an interim plan is required.
Salaamedia is spearheading Project Moletjie and will be working with the Polokwane based NPO, Bariqal Amal. The project aims to establish at least one borehole in each of these zones.
A spokesperson for Bariqal Amal, Zorha Khan, told Salaamedia that the key to this kind of project success has always been community involvement. “Ownership of the project must be given to the local community. It is donated to them for their use and upkeep.”
Once drilled the water committee has determined to charge a R5 ($ 0.32c) per month levy to the residents using the borehole. This would be to cover electricity costs and future maintenance.
“If you make the project the way you say, you will help many in the community. Because they are suffering a lot,” said Mr Lekoloane.
Support Project Moletjie by making a donation to:
Account No: 625 615 008 12
Reference: Borehole + your name
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ