12 years without proper sanitation in North West community

Residents of the settlement of Schaumberg in North West province have been waiting over a decade for water and sanitation

These people are heading into the rainy season without the water or sanitation services they have been asking for since 2005.

Residents of the settlement, which lies between Hekpoort and Skeerpoort, say there has been no progress since a group of 3 500 residents protested in June, GroundUp reports. None of the authorities concerned – the Madibeng Municipality and the provincial departments of water and sanitation and basic education – have responded to their demands. Schaumburg Residents’ Committee member Oscar Nkgoeng told Groundup: “We are still using the pit toilets. It’s now 12 years without proper water. And the government still isn’t coming to the party. “We’re struggling even to get drinking water. That is our main problem.”

Committee member Vivien Laverne says that out of “anger and desperation”, the community is now turning to the private sector for donations for a water system. One borehole pump services the community’s 6 000 residents and the committee wants to install a tap on every street corner – a project which they estimate will cost just over R500 000.

They also want to build a storm water drain to channel flood water during the rainy season.

“Schaumberg is about to have its rainy season, and community members are concerned that their houses are going to be flooded,” Laverne said.

Maanda Mandavha, Regional Head of Bulk Infrastructure for the North West Department of Water and Sanitation, said it was up to local government to develop a plan for this community. Attempts to reach the Madibeng Municipality were unsuccessful, as were attempts to contact local councillor Abram Ratlou.

Other demands raised at the march in June included the improvement of a local secondary school and regular refuse and waste collection, because residents are forced to burn their own rubbish every week.

Schaumberg falls into the Democratic Alliance-run Ward 29 in the predominantly African National Congress-ruled Madibeng municipality.

READ MORE: Cape Town gets tough with delinquent water users

The community is frustrated because it has followed what Laverge calls “the perfect political procedural ways of doing things”, with no results. “The community didn’t just march to demand. It had done its homework, groundwork and investigations,” she said. “This community has really worked on solution-based memorandums. People are angry.”

Committee member Abdullah Milanzi says he is frustrated with politicians who “don’t work for people”.

“Weeks or months before the elections, they will come to you, they will convince you, and they will do things, but they will not finish things,” said Nkgoeng. “The ANC guys were running around promising things and after the elections they were gone. The DA: The same. Now that the elections are done and dusted, they are gone.”

– GroundUp