Gift of the Givers has drilled four new boreholes in Ngqushwa, Eastern Cape of South Africa, to address the clean water challenge in the area.

It was learnt that villagers in Ngqushwa, which houses 138 villages, have been struggling with water scarcity for ten years.

Reports say households in Feni village had to rely on dirty water from the river or to buy water from local trucks.

Taps, according to residents of Feni, were built in the village but have been dry for nine years.

It got to a point that young people in the area threatened not to vote in subsequent elections if their demand for clean water was not met as they staged a number of protests during the Covid-19 lockdown.

After their protest, a water tank was installed for Feni and two other villages.

However, the Amathole District Municipality only filled the tank twice a month and three hours later it was empty, according to residents.

What happened?

Spokesperson for the municipality Nonceba Madikizela-Vuso reportedly said that the district was vast and the roads were bad, and tankers constantly needed repair.

It was learnt that this was where Gift of the Givers stepped in.

‘Within three days after we arrived in Ngqushwa we have successfully drilled four boreholes’, founder of the NGO Imtiaz Sooliman said.

He said they had also offered to clean up four other boreholes no longer producing water.

‘At least now I can go fetch my own water… The river is about 7km away and the road is bad. I had to rely on people for water. The trucks charge R20 for a 25 litre bucket’, a resident, Sipho Majiya, who uses crutches, said.

Similarly, a grandmother in Feni, Nosolomzi Bhudaza, said she was very happy.

‘I am unemployed and dependent on the child support grant of my grandchildren. I cannot afford to buy water, so this borehole will help people like me to fetch water closer than we used to’, GroundUp quoted Bhudaza as saying.

What does the government make of this development?

Madikizela-Vuso said a geohydrologist had visited 30 existing borehole sites, but only seven had been found suitable to be tested.

‘The ones which were tested yielded water which was not fit for human consumption’, she said.

‘Owing to issues of water quality, we did not equip any of the boreholes, even those which did have sufficient water’.

On the cost of the project, Sooliman said it cost between R350,000 and R600,000 to drill one borehole, depending on the depth.

He said though the results of tests still had to be received, the indications were that the water was safe for drinking.

Source: GroundUp

Photo source: Johnnie Isaac

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