“At 6am residents… went on the rampage. They burnt municipal offices and a Caterpillar grader,” said Lt-Col Leonard Hlathi.
The residents were demonstrating their dissatisfaction over municipal water in the area which was unfit for consumption.
Earlier, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa released the 2012 Blue Drop Report, warning that the water of 14 municipalities, including Bushbuckridge, did not meet government standards.
Residents were advised to treat the water, through boiling or the use of bleach, before drinking it.
Hlathi said the situation remained tense and police would continue to monitor the area.
The nine people arrested would appear soon in Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on charges of public violence and arson.
Source: Jacaranda FM
While public violence and criminal activity can never be condoned, one can understand the frustration of the rate-paying community where they cannot trust the water, if any, that flows through their taps. The South African government has a monumental task of repairing, maintaining and upgrading water supply infrastructure. So far, the government is failing in many parts of South Africa and service delivery protests are likely to increase in frequency and violence as communities vent their frustration. An expedient solution would be to subsidise water tanks and simple rainwater harvesting information and supplies so that individual households can become more self-reliant when it comes to drinking water. Plastic water tanks are both affordable and easy to transport and install. Poly water tanks are available in numerous sizes and types although we would recommend either 2500 litre vertical water tanks or 5000 litre vertical water tanks for each household. By providing water tanks to the community, government will be able to buy some time to rectify problems with its municipal water supply systems.
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