After years of enduring long walks to fetch water from the river, residents of three communities in Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal will have access to clean water thanks to a R1-million investment into a water project by the Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC).

ZAC launched and handed over boreholes, 5 000-litre JoJo tanks and communal taps to residents of Doncaneni, Ngolotshe and Masokaneni as part of ongoing efforts by the mine to support development.

ZAC’s social development manager Khumbulani Masuku says this is an important initiative because water access had been an ongoing issue, due to the area being water-stressed. “Because this is a vast rural area, there are limited clean-water access points. The community is in dire need of water, which is why we decided to action this initiative.”

The handover was facilitated through a partnership with the Nongoma Municipality, starting with Doncaneni in ward 11 where a borehole, water tank as well as drinking troughs for cattle and goats were installed. Another water project was delivered to residents of Ngolotshe. The last handover took place at Masokaneni where the community received a livestock dam and a communal tap that is connected to the Mngeni water scheme.

Access to clean water will assist residents to carry out daily household activities like cooking and cleaning, while supporting their agricultural activities. Masuku says the water scarcity also affects local subsistence farmers because they struggle to access drinking water for their animals.

“We recognise that water is a life-giving element, which impacts both people and animals. Through this project, ZAC aims to play its role by working together with local government to assist our communities,” he adds. To date, ZAC has provided 262 558 000 litres of clean, potable water to surrounding communities.

The handovers culminated in an event that was attended by traditional leaders, residents and Nongoma Mayor Clifford Ndabandaba.

The mayor says it is important for local government to form partnerships with companies on missions that uphold community upliftment.  “As the municipality, we are glad to see the work that was done by ZAC. It is such a blessing for us to see our people being supplied with water.” He adds that the municipality will assist with maintaining the infrastructure by dispatching its Expanded Public Works Programme team to conduct regular checks on the borehole and water tanks.

This project is part of ZAC’s Social and Labour Plan (SLP) commitments to implement initiatives that benefit the community. The SLP was drafted according to the identified needs of surrounding communities.

Doncaneni’s Induna Mandla Ndlela says the project will make the lives of residents a little easier. “Our people used to walk long distances in search of water. But now they will have access. We hope to see more projects like this being developed around the area.”

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