Delmas schools delay reopening due to ongoing water crisis

Published Jul 9, 2024


The disruption, which began last weekend and persists today, has caught residents by surprise as the municipality did not provide any prior notification.

The exact cause of the disruption remains unclear, though it is suspected that an unpaid debt of R386,947,508.31 owed by the municipality to Rand Water, which was due in March 2024, might be a contributing factor.

This lack of communication has caused substantial disruption to daily life.

Residents and local businesses have experienced decreased productivity, with the impact being particularly severe on small businesses.

Lucky Mahamba, a hair salon owner, voiced his frustration, saying, “I am unable to open my salon and make money if things are like this. The issue of not having water is really bad and I hope Rand Water and the municipality will do the right thing by bringing back water.”

The disruption has also affected the local education system. Schools in Delmas have delayed reopening for the third term until tomorrow, as per a statement from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU).

The executive mayor of the town, Vusi Buda, urged schools to open on Wednesday, citing efforts to implement boreholes in schools.

However, this delay might negatively impact the learners’ curriculum and overall education process.

A local resident, Khosi Ntuli, a mother of two, shared her disappointment:

“It's really sad that we are being denied a basic need. We need water, and the municipality knows that very well. There is not much productivity right now, and kids are also not able to go to school.

The municipality should work better on communication because if they told us on time, we would have filled up our buckets and not suffered like this.”

The municipality issued a statement on the situation, mentioning planned maintenance by Rand Water on the N6 pipeline, expected to be completed by midnight on Sunday, July 7.

However, residents have reported that the water supply has not yet been restored.

A subsequent post on the municipality’s Facebook page stated that delays occurred during the planned maintenance and that the Delmas reservoir was expected to start receiving water later in the afternoon.

A more recent update from the municipality stated: “Delmas and Botleng reservoirs are filling up but levels are still very low. Delmas and Botleng reservoirs will be opened from 4pm until 8pm today.”

Despite these updates, it remains unclear whether the municipality has settled its debt with Rand Water.

The municipality has recently implemented a credit control and debt collection policy, starting from July 1, aimed at curbing the amount owed to Rand Water.

The ongoing water disruption continues to hamper the daily lives and productivity of Delmas residents, leaving the community eagerly awaiting a resolution.