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South Africa: High School Dropout Rate Because of Water Crisis

In rural Tsita in the Eastern Cape, school-age children spend hours fetching and carrying water for their families. The principal of the local high school blamed this on the high dropout rate and the sharp drop in enrollment.
The municipality stated that the water supply project (R28 million) is expected to be completed in March 2022.

Tsita of the local municipality of Ntabankulu has been struggling with water shortages for years, but the situation has deteriorated since 2018 as the drought continues to sweep the Eastern Cape. Gcinithemba Ntuthuka said: “Many old people here want fresh water in their taps. But we still drink water with the animals in the river.” Tanks…but I don’t have a jojo tank. I rely on piecemeal work to survive. “I use a wheelbarrow to carry three 25 liters of water.” But sometimes I don’t have water when I go home because the livestock makes the water undrinkable. ”

He said that many years ago, villagers bought their own water pipes and connected them to the village of Saphukanduku.

“We have more than 200 families in Tsita Village, and we decided to donate 100 rand per household to buy our own water pipes. The purpose is to give our children enough time to learn and to save our elderly parents from the long journey to the river. side. ”

“Then we dug a ten-kilometer ditch. The ditch started in the village of Saphukanduku and passed through the village of Ntshamanzi. We dug it with a spade and pickaxe. Some of our pipes crossed the river. But we experienced a lot of leaks… . Our pipes are being cut off and our connections are being removed. Repairing them is too expensive and we decided to give up.”

He said that returning to the river has affected the academic performance of his two nephews. Water shortage is the main reason for their poor grades. After school, they went to the river to fetch water for dinner and wash school uniforms twice.

This is also the water for bathing before school in the morning.

“I push a trolley with two 20-liter containers to the river twice a day,” said Olvetu Bam, 22, who lives with three siblings and her grandmother.

There are three municipal jojo tanks, but she believes they were last filled in 2016 when they were delivered.

The solution to the villagers’ water problem is the 28 million Rand water supply project of the Alfred Enzo District Municipal Government, which aims to benefit 2,345 households.

However, Bam said the project was suspended for a full month before work resumed on Wednesday.

The water pipeline will connect Tsita to the village of Mnceba, three kilometers away. The project started in March 2021, but villagers said that work was often stopped. “Last year, I failed in grade 12 because I didn’t have enough time to study,” said 21-year-old Melehloho Mamani. “I am very tired,” she said.



With information from: https://allafrica.com/stories/202111240162.html

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