Water crisis in Soweto raises doubts ahead of elections

Published Apr 4, 2024


Residents of Soweto and Johannesburg are struggling with a pressing issue that is influencing their voting choices as the national elections approach - the ongoing water crisis.

Over the years, the government has made many assurances and promises, but not much has been done to assist ease a dire situation. Instead, opposition parties are stepping up and making promises to deal with the issue, but the public has serious doubts about their ability to do so.

Ageing and poorly maintained water infrastructure, coupled with theft and vandalism of electrical infrastructure, has contributed to intermittent water outages across the metro.

Residents have revealed a general feeling of dissatisfaction and disappointment.

Soweto resident, Thandeka Mkhize says: "We have been dealing with water shortages for long. It's affecting our daily lives, and we're tired of waiting for the government to take action."

Community leader, Jacob Ndlovu agrees, highlighting the urgent need for practical answers. Ndlovu says: "A basic human right is access to clean water. The lack of progress from the government is unacceptable, and people are losing faith in their ability to address the crisis."

Lerato Ngwenya, the owner of a salon, is one of the small business owners who is personally and professionally impacted by the water issue. Ngwenya says: "We depend on water for our everyday operations.

"We find it difficult to provide for our customers and maintain a seamless operation without a steady supply. The fact that there seems to be no way to solve this issue is annoying."

Opposition parties are taking advantage of the frustration and uncertainty in the air to gain ground among unhappy voters by offering prompt action and tangible solutions. They are presenting themselves as strong contenders to replace the current African National Congress (ANC) government.

However, locals continue to have concerns about whether these assurances will result in actual change.

Mkhize added: "People are tired of broken promises. While the opposition parties offer hope, there's a lingering question of whether they can deliver on their promises once in power."

The water crisis becomes a defining issue influencing voter opinion in Soweto and Johannesburg as the election approaches. At this point, the electorate is divided between welcoming change and adhering to tried-and-true connections.

The outcome of the upcoming elections will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the future of these communities whose existence depends on reliable and safe water supplies.