A family friend who works in Cape Town has recently returned from her home village, Mbekeni location  situated in Encobo (Ngcobo) in the  Eastern Cape and has shared her experience with me.  At first, it didn’t really register how severe the situation is and what the people, who live in this village, have to endure just to survive.

Basically, the small town has been without running water for some months.  The only form of relief is an entrepreneurial individual who has seized the opportunity to “help”the desperate people in need. On a daily basis, he loads his tractor with 200 liter drums, goes down to the local river, fills the drum, transports them back to the community and sells the at R50.00 each.


With no other alternative, the community members purchase this “raw and untreated” river water which has to be used for drinking, washing, cleaning, etc.

Our friend has told us that for her family buys one drum every day.  So an average month costs them R1,500.00 just so their family can have water to survive.

I have chosen to write this blog to see if we can get a number of answers:

1.)  What is the local municipality doing to help these people?

2.)   Is it legal to be charging for river water?  – Whilst I recognise that the driver (owner) of the tractor needs to recover his costs, it does seem a little exorbitant to be charging R50.00 per drum.  Specially if you’re not paying for, or treating the water.

3.)   How do we get help for this community?

4.)   How many other communities are in the very same situation?


If anyone has any answers, please feel free to comment on this article or mail us at:  info@waternews.co.za