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On The Road – Residents of Vryburg Describe Water Shortage as Man-Made Crisis

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In the midst of turmoil over what Vryburg residents call a “man-made” crisis, leaving thousands without water for months, one man stands ready to sacrifice for his community.

Tebogo Lebona, a community activist from Vryburg’s Huhudi area, deeply affected by the decade-long crisis, insists that the water problem isn’t a crisis but a deliberate act for personal gain. He believes those in power have orchestrated this situation.

Lebona, along with many residents, blames the dry taps on a problem created by authorities, which could be easily solved if they chose to. Until the Naledi Local Municipality fixes the water issue, described as its “Achilles’ heel” in official documents, Lebona vows to keep protesting.

He began speaking out in 2015, despite alleged bribery attempts and vandalism of boreholes to silence him. Lebona refuses to compromise his integrity, emphasizing his commitment to the people.

While Huhudi residents rely on water tankers, Lebona refuses to give up. He believes fear is the true obstacle to progress and is willing to risk his life for future generations.

Despite Vryburg’s struggles with crime and unemployment, residents identify water scarcity and political interference as their main concerns. Community leader Professor George Malebe agrees, noting how the water crisis exacerbates racial tensions.

Malebe highlights the inequality in water distribution within Vryburg, with some areas unaffected while others suffer. He questions how such disparities can exist within the same community.

The ANC and national government have been aware of the issue since at least 2019. Measures were announced to address it, including dealing with pipeline vandalism.

In April 2019, suspicions arose of politically linked businessmen sabotaging the water supply for personal gain. Despite calls for investigations, it’s uncertain if any action has been taken.

Huhudi resident Martin “Bozza” Seleboga emphasizes the difficulty of survival without water. He believes having a JoJo tank is essential, but for many, even that isn’t enough.

In conclusion, despite years of awareness and promises of action, the water crisis in Vryburg persists, leaving residents like Seleboga struggling to survive.