Durban – For an oThongathi Tongaat family waking up at 3.30am has become a norm.
It’s not an early wake up call to attend gym or perform meditation, but to ensure that they boil water so everyone can have a bath and get to work and school on time.
Suresh Ramsahai, his wife and teenage son have had no piped water since the devastating April floods.
But Ramsahai said the despair and physical impact was taking its toll on residents.
“It’s sad to say leaders in the municipality and government have let us down.”
The City said residents in some parts of oThongathi will have water from their taps again from this week.
However Ramsahai and his family who live in Fairbreeze, are not among those.
He said they have since adjusted their lives around getting water on a daily basis to perform the basic needs.
“I wake up at 3.30am and begin the tedious task of boiling water for everyone to bath. Let’s not talk about our electricity bills.”
He said they have since been having a bath using buckets and commonly referred to as a bucket bath.
“We miss the showers, especially my teenage son but what choice does he have.”
Ramsahai said they were also afraid of being burnt.
“Transferring boiling water can be a dangerous affair.”
He said after that he has to ensure his wife has enough water for the day.
“Previously we used to wait for water tankers but this was not feasible. My boss was kind enough to allow me to use a flow bin from work so I usually go and fill water in there.
“Then I begin transferring them into bottles in the yard.
“We have about 20 x 20 litre and 55 containers that hold 5 litres each.
“We live in a yard of a family of eight, so this water is shared among everyone for bathing, toilet and other household chores.”
Ramsahai said he still had to invest money in buying drinking water.
“My son has been very ill recently, in and out of hospitals, and doctors suspect it could be linked to him accidentally ingesting some of that water.”
He said they loved drinking water and not being able to open your tap and get water is terribly sad.
Ramsahai said when he returned home from work, he also tried to assist residents who didn’t have water.
“I sometimes only return home at around 11pm. There is just no family time. All we think about is getting water for the next day.”
Ramsahai said in August they had to perform a one-year ceremony for his mother.
“It was such a difficult thing to have a function at home with no water.
“But we had to have the prayer, We literally had to fill the toilet every time someone had to use it.
“We literally feel like oThongathi residents have been left on the sidelines.”
Last week the Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu and eThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said water would be restored in some part of oThongathi which was due to the completion of a tie-in of the Mamba Ridge Pipeline from the Hazelmere Waterworks to the Mamba Ridge Reservoir.
The City said the new connection will assist in directing two million litres of water a day from the Hazelmere Dam to some parts of oThongathi.
Mchunu called for the community’s patience during the testing of the water supply and told residents to first boil water when used for drinking in the first few days after it starts flowing.