KEETMANSHOOP - Around 300 unemployed residents from the Ileni and Gereres informal settlements at Keetmanshoop have to share one prepaid water point and in most cases, they do not have access to the precious resource.
“Government say people must stay home during the coronavirus, but if we cannot go out looking for odd-jobs how will we be able to buy water that we need daily,’’ said community activist Martin Mukoka who added water tanks placed in two areas were removed without their consent.
In terms of sanitation facilities, Mukoka explained that most shacks on the side of Gereres opposite the road do not have flush toilets, forcing some of the elderly people and children to relieve themselves in the bushes at night, which is risky.
“Some of the toilets in Ileni are not functioning as there is no water connected to it, resulting in a situation where more than 20 people share one toilet from the ones working,’’ he emphasised. Mukoka went on to say electricity connections promised by the municipality have never been realised. “They just install electrical cables at some places but never connected the electricity, leaving us in the dark,’’ said Mukoka.
When approached for comment, Dawn Kruger, spokesperson for the Keetmanshoop municipality said six working prepaid water points were previously installed in Ileni and Gereres upon a directive from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
“The water tanks were removed for maintenance and cleaning and will be placed at the strategic points again soon, ‘’ she further explained.
She added eight flush toilets were recently renovated at the two informal settlements and might be blocked now due to foreign materials being thrown into it. The spokesperson also said that electricity connections are ongoing in the areas. “Materials have been ordered and the contractors will start next week with the connections,’’ she promised.
‘’The municipality is, however, experiencing delays with all these works due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a challenge to provide facilities that lasts longer due to some residents vandalising these equipment for their individual benefits.”