Water is natural. The only part that’s not natural is when man puts in chemicals to purify it and make it suitable for drinking.But in Delmas recently, this was turned on its head. The water supplied to residents through their taps was causing illness and even death. What was supposed to be giving them life was taking lives.This was not the first time for Delmas residents. The same thing had happened to them in the past.When Numsa News visited the area during the height of the problem, they were shocked at the reasons given by residents for the crisis.”It’s because they left a white man to be a security at the reservoir,” said one. “We are faced with the local government elections, this is just jealousy against the ANC because it’s obvious they’re always victorious,” said another.”The population growth rate is too high now, the government can’t take it anymore, the state of the economy is bad and the government can’t budget enough for us all.”The effects of this weighed heavily on poor families in particular who couldn’t bury their loved ones.Workers exhausted their sick leave struggling through the illness or caring for their loved ones that were ill.The Department of Health called the illness typhoid, but to angry Delmas residents the government seemed to be doing nothing to help them. Although it took them to clinics, hospitals, gave them tablets (panamal and antibiotics), some still ended up dead in the same hospital.On September 15, residents took to the streets showing their anger to the town council. But their march was in vain. They found no-one to respond to them, and were more angered by that.And while the authorities continued to try to find the source of the typhoid, community members felt ignored, uninformed and neglected. They complained of broken promises and lack of delivery. Such dissatisfaction opened the doors for the opposition party to take advantage of the situation and their smear campaign gained momentum.Let this be a lesson for the authorities in the future – open those lines of communication between themselves and the residents!
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