Women in informal settlements of East London were the hardest hit by the recent water outages. Even though areas like Braelyn Extension and Nkandla informal settlement experienced water outages for only three days, the impact was huge and immeasurable.
Residents revealed that water outages started on Monday the 18th of April and almost the whole week without prior warning. This meant that residents had to go around and beg for water in the nearby areas.
Workers had to carry containers in order to bring water from their work places and the CBD. A Braelyn resident, Zola Mange, claims to have stood in a long queue at a Southernwood BP garage to buy water.
Women were the ones carrying the heavy burden of the water crisis since they have to go around looking for water. Duncan Village primary school was forced to turn learners back home since they did not have water. There was an outcry in the community because they were not informed about the water cuts. Furthermore there were no alternative means to provide water such as bringing water tanks.
Nkandla informal settlement residents felt that they were the most affected since the area does not have taps and water – they survived by begging for water from formal areas like Braelyn.
“Nkandla is more than a year old but residents remain without water, toilets and electricity. The people have been left out to urinate and relieve themselves in the forest areas and fields. Those who have electricity have also connected it illegally from Braelyn street lamps” said Linda Nelana, a young man from Nkandla.
With the 2016 local government elections just around the corner some desperate ANC candidates have been highly visible in this area, allowing residents to build more shacks, intensifying the voter registration campaign, dishing out food parcels and calling meetings after meetings. Residents who are mainly youth revealed that several election promises such as provision of RDP houses, shelters, water, sanitation, jobs and renovation of RDP houses have been made.
Elitsha reporters visited East London last week and reported that, parts of the central city centred around Oxford Street are resembling a ghetto, with sidewalk paving in disrepair, weeds growing wild and rubbish all over. A clear indication of neglect by the Metro council.