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Water in Blyvoor is meer werd as goud

Written by  Elise Tempelhoff - BEELD Wednesday, 10 June 2015 11:50
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Duisende mense van die myndorpie Blyvooruitzicht is al vier weke sonder water nadat hul watertoevoer afgesny is. Elise Tempelhoff het die dorp besoek.

 

Dolly Burnet (83) van Blyvooruitzicht, wat die laaste vier weke sonder water is. Sy ry elke dag na Carletonville of Fochville om water te kry.

Dolly Burnet (83) is ’n trotse vrou, maar deesdae voel sy soos ’n bedelaar omdat sy oral moet rondvra vir water. Die een dag staan sy bakhand vir water in Carletonville en die volgende dag in Fochville.

Burnet sê sy “praat baie met die Here. Die laaste weke praat ek onophoudelik met hom”.

“Ek vra dikwels: Here, as ons water in die krane dan moes opdroog, wil U nie dan asseblief vir ons ’n bietjie reën stuur nie? Dan kan ek skottels buite sit en water opvang.”

Dié klein vrou woon reeds 56 jaar in ’n netjiese huurhuis in Agtste Straat, Blyvooruitzicht. Die afgelope 27 jaar versorg sy haar gestremde seun, Robert (50), wat sy nek 22 jaar gelede in ’n rugbywedstryd gebreek het.

Burnet, Robert en Philip Molosiwa, hul huiswerker, is saam met tussen 11 000 en 15 000 mense in ’n krisis gedompel nadat die Merafong (Carletonville)- plaaslike owerheid die watertoevoer na dié dorp afgesny het.

Die myn op die dorp, Blyvooruitzicht Gold Mining Company (BGMC), is al die afgelope twee jaar in likwidasie en was die hartklop van die dorp.

Die myn se probleme het gelei tot die afgelope agt jaar se opgehoopte waterskuld, wat glo R181 miljoen beloop.

“Ons is nou vier weke sonder water. As dit so aangaan, sal ek moet trek, maar ek weet nie waarheen nie. Ons kan nie so aangaan nie. Robert moet elke dag gewas word. Deesdae brand sy lyf soos vuur en die bietjie water wat ons het, moet louwarm gemaak word voordat hy afgespons word. Die waswater gebruik ons om die toilet in die huis mee te spoel.”

Burnet raak moedeloos en het baie vrae. Kanne en skottels in alle groottes, als wat water kan hou, staan die stoepie van haar mynhuis vol.

Sy wys na die water in die kanne: “Dít is meer werd as ál die goud wat oor al die jare hier by Blyvoor uitgehaal is.”

’n Paar strate verder van Burnet se huis, is Emma Henzen en drie onderwyseresse elke dag op hul pos by die Little Bratz-kleuterskool. Henzen het die skooltjie ’n hele klomp jaar gelede begin nadat die BGMC die huis vir dié doel aan haar “geskenk” het.

Die gesiggies van die 60 kleuters in die skool is blinkskoon. Die kinders lag baie, maar volgens Henzen is hulle getraumatiseer weens die gebrek aan water in die dorp. “Ek is hartseer. Die kinders is gestres. Ek ken elkeen van hulle. Hulle is nie huilerig nie, maar deesdae bars van hulle sommer sonder ’n oënskynlike rede in trane uit. Hulle is ook geïrriteerd en vra gedurig om water te drink.”

Sy bring elke dag kanne water skool toe van ’n nabygeleë myndorp waar sy woon. Maar hoe lank dit so kan aangaan, weet sy nie. Kinders speel in die sand en hulle word vuil. Hulle moet skoon gewas word met die minimum water. Hulle kom elke dag skoon skool toe. Hoe hul ouers dit regkry, weet Henzen nie.

Die kinders se ouers staan soms vir ’n hele dag met kanne en wag op Merafong se watertenkwa. Soms kom die tenkwa twee keer ’n dag, soms glad nie.

Merafong het ’n week gelede sy watertenkwa na die dorpie begin stuur omdat hy sy grondwetlike plig teenoor die mense in Blyvooruitzicht wil nakom en ’n basiese hoeveelheid water aan hulle wil verskaf.

Maar die waterpyp bly toe, het Merafong besluit. Die watermeter is uitgehaal en die pyp toegesweis.

Merafong het juis verlede week in die hooggeregshof in Pretoria in die saak tussen dié plaaslike owerheid en AfriForum aangevoer hy verskaf water “aan die armstes van die armes” deur watertenkwaens met 90 000 liter water per dag na Blyvooruitzicht te stuur. Merafong het die watersaak gewen. AfriForum s’n is van die rol geskrap en die burgerregte-organisasie moet nou boonop sowel sy eie regskoste as dié van Merafong betaal.

Pule Molefe, gemeenskapsleier, het op ’n vergadering gesê hy en ’n groep werkloses wat in die dorp woon, het al om hulp by die Menseregtekommissie (MRK) aangeklop. “Hulle het ons nie eens geantwoord nie. Dit maak seer as niemand na ons luister nie. Ons weet nie aan wie dié myn en die dorp behoort nie. Wie moet verantwoordelik gehou word vir die slegte omstandighede waaronder ons leef?”

Liz Gericke, sakevrou van Blyvooruitzicht, sit ook met die hande in die hare. Sy wil die huise in Blyvooruitzicht koop, dit laat restoureer en dan – dalk as ’n maatskaplike behuisingskema – verkoop. Maar nou wonder sy of sy daarmee moet voortgaan.

Sy hou die ligte in Blyvooruitzicht op die oomblik aan die brand deur rotshope in die myndorp te laat hermyn. Dít doen sy in oorleg met Leigh Roering, likwidateur van die myn. “Ek is nie ’n mynwerker nie, maar met dié inkomste betaal ek Blyvooruitzicht se kragrekening.” Dié beloop glo sowat R1,6 miljoen per maand.

Sy benadruk dat die rotsmynery géén water gebruik nie, maar tog is Blyvooruitzicht se waterrekening R4 miljoen per maand. “Ons verstaan dit nie.”

Merafong se verduideliking daaroor is duidelik: Die dorp het om die myn ontstaan. Die BGMC het sy werknemers van behuising, krag en water voorsien. Mense het gratis gewoon, water en krag gebruik, maar dié dae is verby.

Die maatskappy is al byna twee jaar in likwidasie en Merafong doen glo sy bes, maar kan nie meer die dorp en die myn se agterstallige waterskuld dra nie. “As ons die water aanskakel, skryf ons elke maand R4 miljoen af. Ons is in ernstige finansiële knyp, soos die meeste ander plaaslike owerhede,” het ’n amptenaar gesê.

Erich Stoch, omgewingskonsultant wat die geskiedenis van Blyvooruitzicht goed ken, meen dis verby met dié dorpie. Die infrastruktuur is nooit in stand gehou nie. Van die waterpype lek. Die huise is op dolomitiese gebied gebou en van hulle kan enige tyd in ’n sinkgat val.

Die water is maar net een van Blyvoor se probleme, meen hy.

Louis Nel, hoof van ’n veiligheidsmaatskappy, sê die inwoners van Blyvooruitzicht het in ’n vakuum beland. Likwidasiewetgewing, omgewingswetgewing en wetgewing oor menseregte weerspreek mekaar.

Mariette Liefferink, direkteur van die Federasie vir ’n Volhoubare Omgewing, sê die tragiek van Blyvooruitzicht kan toegeskryf word aan die mislukking van al die regeringsdepartemente wat nie wette behoorlik toepas nie.

“Elkeen werk in sy eie klein wêreldjie.” Mynbase plunder, word ryk en kruip dan weg agter likwidasiewetgewing. “Dít moet stop, anders gaan dit gebeur by al die ander goudmyne in Suid-Afrika – wat almal op hul laaste bene staan.”

En nou waarsku dokters ook dat siektes onder die mense kan uitbreek.

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