VRYHEID HERALD: “My child died for 5 litres of water.”

A 10-year-old was killed while on her way to collect water for her family at a nearby dam. The Bhekuzulu Primary pupil was crossing the Hlobane / Melmoth Road, carrying a 5l bottle to collect water when she was run over by a motorist.

A witness, who identified herself as Precious, said she could not hold back tears when she heard the mother of the child wailing in grief, “My child died for 5l of water!”

This loss of an innocent life has brought home the crushing severity of the drought Vryheid is experiencing, and has triggered fury in the hearts of community members who blame the municipality for the crisis that led to a little girl sacrificing her life to bring home water.

“When this accident occurred, it didn’t even cross the minds of the people at the scene that the driver of the car had knocked the girl, or that the driver was responsible for her death. Everybody’s first thought was that this happened because of water. It happened because we are in a crisis and we don’t have water,” said Precious. “The child’s father had a look on his face like he did not believe what had happened. The child’s grandmother was trying to clutch the child in her arms and had to be ushered away by police. The child’s mother was utterly devastated. Nearly everybody in the crowd gathered at the scene was in tears.”

Precious continued, “With the water crisis being as bad as it is, the municipality’s first concern should be helping people. Instead, they appear to be more concerned with votes. They had a function on Sunday, and spent a lot of money encouraging people to vote. They should be investing that time and money ensuring that people, especially children and the elderly, have access to water closer to their homes,” she said.

Residents are now questioning the actions of the municipality that have led to conditions becoming dire.

“The municipality was supposed to drill more boreholes? Where are they?”

“The municipality was supposed to put up more water tanks so people would not have to travel too far to collect water? Where are they?”

“If community organisations, like the Muslim community, Rotary, Round Table, and Gift of the Givers can feel compassion for residents and sacrifice their personal time and resources to try and offer relief, why can’t municipal officials and councillors do the same?”

“If there is money available for events and functions? Why isn’t this money being ploughed into trying to alleviate the water crisis?” Read more here