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Sixteen tankers have been delivered to QwaQwa in the Free State this past week by the Department of Water and Sanitation in a bid to relieve water shortages in the area.

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu visited the area on January 24 after a spate of protests over water shortages and promised to deliver 5,000 water tankers to the area the following week.

However, the department came up short.

“Eleven water tankers, with a capacity of 16 000l each, were delivered last night to complement the other five [same capacity] that was delivered on Monday to the area.

“Now, there are 16 tankers in QwaQwa,” spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said in a statement on Wednesday.

Last month, he added, Sisulu had “declared 10 water tankers will be delivered” to the area, saying this had been fulfilled and exceeded.

Sisulu had asked Sedibeng Water to ensure water tanks were made available to the community as a matter of urgency, Ratau said, adding 40 more tankers were on the way.

“To this end, 40 water tanks, each with a 1 000l capacity, are expected to be delivered this week to augment the existing water tanks in the area.

“The department is engaging the local municipality with regards to the best locations for the tanks to create shorter distances for people to walk in order to access water, significantly reducing danger and drownings.”

Ratau said Sedibeng Water was working on refurbishing dysfunctional infrastructure in QwaQwa as part of an intervention by the department.

“There is also a need and intention within Sedibeng’s intervention efforts to enhance the capacity of the Uni-Qwa reservoir linked to the Sterkfontein treatment plant.

“Minister Sisulu is appealing to residents to exercise patience while the department, working with stakeholders in the area, addresses their plight within the confines of the law and National Treasury prescripts.”

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