Four days ago while walking around Gwanda this teenage little girl comes running to me and politely asks to talk to me. Though I was in a hurry and not in the mood to listen to other people's issues as I had my own at that moment that needed my utmost attention, I thought let me give her the attention.
She says to me she had heard people say that I am one of the people in the Gwanda Residents Association to which for a moment I wanted to deny knowing very well that it was again time to attend to other people's issues at the expense of my own pressing ones. The look on her face forced me to admit that I was and at the same time saying to God in my heart but why Lord and for how long shall I be a slave of the people while failing to attend to my own issues and the very same people fighting me and failing me.
She told me that their family home has not had running water for over three months because council disconnected their water supply due to an outstanding debt of over $800.
She even had the statements with her and that struck me why and how at her age she could be walking around with the statements old receipts and all. She went on to tell me that she had been to council several time sent by her sick mother who is at home to ask council to reconnect water for them but council insists they must pay at least a third of the amount to be reconnected and agree to sign a payment plan that will see them clear the balance in some three months.
In a hurry and confused as I was at that moment I just asked her to give me one of the old statements and promised that I will look into the issue. She smiled and went away very hopefully. Not surprising, because of the pressure I was under I immediately switched off and completely forgot her issues and went back to mine.
Then yesterday I decided to load my dirty clothes into the laundry basket in preparation for someone's return from Swaziland, then I pulled out the paper from the jacket.
I immediately went straight to the family to see for myself the conditions there and at least show that "I had not forgotten" about them. The situation was very sad.
The family of eight, an adult unemployed male with his sick wife her sister and five children the sixteen year old I met in town being the eldest were sharing a twenty litre bucket of water sourced by the sister to the wife some distance away from a borehole at the local Red Cross Centre. They were shockingly using an old bucket as a toilet for both the liquid and the solid which they carry in the cover of the night to empty at a bushy area a little distant from their house.
This really got me thinking ukuthi really why are we putting each other through such inhuman conditions as fellow citizens and more so by people who we have given the responsibility to take care of our civic responsibilities.
This is not a case for Gwanda only but our local governance as a whole. Why should we still be stuck to repressive laws that were inflicted on us by our colonizers when we claim to have achieved independence?
In the dispensation we are living in now access to clean, safe and potable water is a fundamental human right which no matter how much money is needed to provide that right should not be compromised.
All human beings have a right to dignity which right disappears immediately when people are denied access to water and full fledged hygienic sanitation facilities.
Councils have the utmost responsibility to make sure that at whatever cost they provide us citizens with uninterrupted access to clean, safe and potable water plus dignified sanitation without prejudice. It is unfortunately so also their duty to find means of recovering money to provide this service without compromising on it.
Why are the High Court provisions on water disconnections being ignored?
Water is life and a right.
STOP WATER DISCONNECTIONS NOW.
By Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo
Taken directly from his social network page