• Eastern Cape Rising Sun

Fort Hare temporarily shuts down for a week as taps run dry

The on-going water crises within the Amathole District Municipality, and the uncertainty in the resolution of the crises, has led the University of Fort Hare’s Alice campus to close down until next week following an emergency meeting earlier in the week.


In what they call, ‘an extraordinary decision’, the university management cancelled all academic activities and urged students and staff to take a break and re-energize. Earlier in the week, Fort Hare was confident that the crises would be resolved.


Communication sent to staff and students earlier in the week gave the impression that this was not a crisis as yet, owing to information received from the municipality. “Contrary to the expectations of the university’s leadership based on credible information, the water situation on campus has not improved,” detailed a communique.


Staff members claim that access to water has been a problem for years. Some staff members have been unable to come to work because of the uncertainty in the day-to-day running of the academic activities.


Meanwhile in Butterworth, businesses remain closed on Tuesday, for the second day, following violent protests by residents over water. The N2 remains open, although there is a lot of debris on the road. 


On Monday, locals barricaded the national road with burning tyres and rocks. After an intervention from East London, Butterworth and Mthatha police, locals stoned vehicles that were allowed to drive on the N2. Sixteen people were subsequently arrested for public violence and damage to property. Butterworth and some areas of the Amathole have been without water for two months.  


Captain Jackson Manatha, Butterworth police spokesperson said the town has turned into Burundi, but they are on the ground to ensure that the situation does not escalate any further than it has. “Vehicles are moving through the town at the moment,” he said.


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