Water situation: “We must learn from our experience”

Date: 12 November 2015   Read: 987

It is now in the public space that there were serious water supply issues in most areas of Vhembe district last week but one.

This development was ostensibly an upshot of  the dissatisfaction of water-supply staff within the district municipality over arrear benefits, the minute details of which remain murky to the general public. Ironically, the general public bore the brunt of the strike action in no small measure.

A municipality should operate on the mandate of the electorate. A pedestrian understanding of this mandate is service delivery. It bears noting that water is in important resource which in point of fact is a basic necessity in all households and sundry. It is almost unforgivable to deny residents this basic necessity for whatever reason.

This is not to underplay the significance of the cause of the action by the water-supply staff. The object of this trajectory is to bring into sharper focus the need to resolve differences before they spiral out of control, as was witnessed this past week. Failure to take steps to obviate developments like these timeously invariably gives rise to multi-pronged problems for the immediate and distant future.

First we inculcate an orientation that one must resort to unorthodox means to resolve problems. Secondly, we reinforce into the consciousness of the youth that strike action is the primary means to resolve issues that we feel strongly about. Thirdly, we allow our immediate interests to cloud our judgement to the point that we take steps that are tantamount to cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. Interpretation possibilities are multiple and varied. We may be able to control what we do now, to some extent, but we cannot, however we desire, control the impact of how we conducted ourselves a fortnight ago on our youth, who, by happenstance, are the embodiment of our future.

The strike is apparently over, and water slowly trickled back into the taps. We now need to learn from the experience. The only indicator that we have learnt from the experience will be collaboration aimed at avoiding a recurrence of this untenable situation. The municipality was set up by us, we voted politicians who provide oversight thereof into office.

We need to support them to support us. It should be a symbiotic relationship. Problems should be resolved amicably between elections and peacefully during elections. It seems proper to commend the district municipality for displaying leadership in this difficult situation, and for updating, albeit somewhat belatedly, the community on developments.

The workers also need to be commended for contributing to the resolution of the problem. It is hoped that next time, if there will be a next time, and one hopes not, the municipality and its staff will work out problems even before the community gets wind of them.

- Khuliso Nemadzivhanani

 

 

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