Nketoana local municipality in north-eastern Free State is facing drought as good Samaritan Johan Classen threatens to pull out of the R300 000 water supply project.
The farmer from Petrus Steyn had volunteered to build a water supply system out of his pocket but now plans to walk away “as soon as the rain starts”.
This after authorities allegedly failed to keep their promise to supply electricity and a water chlorifier for the project.
“After I discovered that Mamafubedu was struggling with water, I asked for a meeting with the community and the municipality for them to
grant me a permission to build a borehole and water tank to give them sufficient, clean water.
“In the presence of the community, municipal officials promised to buy the chlorifier and provide electricity, but they have since ignored the project since it started,” said Classen, who uses his own tractor to pump out water.
He said he continued to try to reach out to the municipality to give the project, which supplies 50 000 litres of water per hour, its final touch but has not received any feedback.
“It seems I wasted R300 000 on this project because municipal officials don’t seem to care about their people. I don’t know what they will do now because once I take my tractor, there won’t be water for these people.
“I did this out of love and care for my workers because they stay there. I did not even want my name to be out there. I did not expect a cent from these people. They should just finish off this project.”
The water system was built after the house of the mayor Maditswako Mokoena was torched during a water shortage protest in Mamafubedu in July.
Community member Mabuse Fume said he was saddened by the “forever ignorant municipality” for not showing gratitude to the man who helped to supply them with water.
“We have been under water crisis for five years and this man came to our rescue. We now have taps which run for long hours and get us through the weekend. If this man pulls out, we will suffer severe drought because their people are no longer coming to supply water,” he
Another resident Mangaliso Hlongwane said the new water system has worked better than the previous system implemented by the municipality.
“Now that I hear that this project might stop, I just wonder how we will survive because we really need water to survive,” said Hlongwane.
Nketoana local municipality spokesperson Jabu Msibi failed to respond to questions.
By Boitumelo Kgobotlo