Hundreds of livestock are in danger of not receiving adequate water to survive, after a crucial water pipe was damaged during the grading of the D380 Road in Ashburton.
The water pipe feeds a number of smallholdings that rear livestock, including cattle, pigs, goats and rabbits.
Farmers are concerned that they will soon run out of water to sustain their animals. According to Frans Meuwese, a local farmer, the water pipe runs under the D389. When the Department of Transport recently graded the road, the pipe was believed to be damaged in six or seven places. So far, they have lost about R200 000 worth of water.
“The Department of Transport originally said they will pay for a sub-contractor to repair the leaks. However, they have now said they are not going to repair the leaks because the pipe is not registered with them,” said Meuwese.
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Meuwese added that the Transport Department maintains the road is in the wrong place and that the water pipe is also incorrectly located. “They say that the pipe should be 10 metres away from the road, but refuse to tell us the correct position of the road. The only option now is to call in a land surveyor to correctly reposition the road,” he said. “In grading the road, they created new run-offs, which was not necessary.”
Another farmer affected by the water disruption, Rene Engelbrecht — who owns goats, cattle and rabbits — said that the pipe was damaged over a period of time. “As a result of the constant grading, the level of the road has dropped, and after a heavy downpour, the road washes away.
If the roads department damaged the pipe, they must help us to fix it. If the road is in the wrong place, they must relocate it
Engelbrecht said she, along with all the other farmers, pay rates but do not get the services they pay for. “In the 11 years that I have been farming in the area, I have never had water channelled to my smallholding. I have to pay more than R2 000 a month to get water delivered by tanker to my farm,” Engelbrecht added.
In the meantime, farmers affected by this debacle have had to make alternate arrangements to provide water for their livestock. Despite numerous attempts to get comment from the Department of Transport, response was not forthcoming at the time of going to print.