Phindile Mbele, the mother of Mosa Mbele who drowned at a local river while getting water in QwaQwa says Mosa would not have died if the family had running water.
An emotional Phindile said she was both in shock and hurt by the death of her son. She stressed that if she or the family had the capacity to afford water, the tragedy might not have occurred.
Seven-year-old Mosa was at the local river in QwaQwa to fetch bathwater on Saturday. A family member alleges that Mosa had flip-flops on and one of his shoes fell in the river. As Mosa attempted to retrieve it, the tragedy happened.
The tragedy has fueled frustrations in the QwaQwa area since Monday and has, as a result, caused a shutdown of the area. Locals have barricaded roads and left hospitals in a state of panic while they demand their request for constant water to be met.
The situation on Wednesday remained tense as law enforcement patrolled the area in an effort to bring calm to the district.
African Transformation Movement spokesperson Mxolisi Makhubu confirmed that locals had drafted a memorandum of demands which they planned to deliver to the local municipality on Wednesday afternoon.
He said reports from locals were that former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau and Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation David Mahlobo would visit the area to address locals.
Makhubu stressed that it was unfortunate that others were disrupting the cause by targetting local businesses in the area.
“The people of Phuthditjhaba have consistently been subjected to inhumane living conditions and their basic rights trampled upon by an uncaring government while the place remains heavily neglected.”
Meanwhile, health services have almost collapsed in the area due to the water crisis protest which entered its third day on Wednesday.
Free State Corporative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Thembeni Nxangisa said the departments were in talks with protestors in an effort to find a way forward.
“It is unthinkable that nurses must struggle and people must die in hospital. I agree we could have done better.”
He said the Fika Patso Dam, which supplied water to the municipality, had run dry due to low rainfall.
“The intervention we are making is we are trying to find a way to connect the [local] dams and alleviate the dependency of communities on the Fika Patso Dam.”