Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
MATABELELAND South Provincial Education Director (PED) Mr Lifias Masukume is appealing to well-wishers to supply teachers with water at rural schools as water scarcity is crippling school activities.
The plea comes at a time when people are facing food and water challenges due to the drought.
Some teachers have resorted to buying water in rural areas and a 20-litre gallon of water is sold for 10 rand.
Mr Masukume said rural teachers need to be assisted to access water.
Feeding schemes at schools and other operations have been grounded due to lack of water.
“We hereby call for assistance as the situation is at a critical level. Schools need water to run, when there is no water, pupils are at risk of contracting diseases. Help is needed. We need to get water to our teachers because they continue to remain in schools, committed to their work despite these challenges,” said Mr Masukume.
“There is a need for us to work together to address the water crisis in the province and ideas are welcome. We appeal for assistance in any form. I cannot put forward suggestions as they may limit the help we could get and close off some brilliant ideas. Some have suggested water bowsers, which are quite noble but also bring a fuel challenge, since fuel is scarce in the country and the cost factor of fuel.”
He said the District Development Fund (DDF) has promised to drill some boreholes and repair broken down ones.
“However, the problem is that the rains are late and the water table has gone down. We need help and it is needed soon,” Mr Masukume said.
Rural teachers in Matabeleland North province are also facing water problems.
On Thursday, Matabeleland North Provincial Education Director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said the water situation was dire in most rural schools in his province.
“In many places the water table has gone down and some boreholes have since dried up while some places do not have boreholes at all, with some boreholes having broken down in some areas.
“It is a humanitarian crisis and teachers, just like the communities they serve, have not been spared,” said Mr Mpofu.
“We are working with stakeholders to drill boreholes in some of the most affected areas. So far, we have worked with the DDF and four boreholes have since been drilled in Lupane district to serve schools and nearby communities. We are also working with our partners in the public and private sector and NGOs and three boreholes have so far been drilled in Tsholotsho district.”
He said in some areas people demand payment for hiring a scotchcart. — @andile_tshuma