Table 4

Thematic framework

Problem definition: lack of household supply, alternative and unregulated sources.
  • Repeated/prolonged periods without domestic supply.

  • Informal/unregulated sources – water tankers provided by municipality.

  • Informal/unregulated sources – cement/traditional wells/boreholes/surface water.

  • Inconvenience of collection from informal/unregulated sources.

  • Domestic storage of water from informal/unregulated sources, contamination and damaging equipment.

  • Lack of political attention to the problem.

Causes and contributors of water shortages
  • Poor governance and planning and lack of awareness in authorities.

  • Lack of political accountability (‘broken election promises’) and corruption.

  • Lack of awareness of accountability mechanisms among community leaders (CPF, CDF, Induna, councillors and ward committees).

  • Lack of infrastructure maintenance and delays in maintenance.

  • Vandalism and limited community ownership.

  • Persistent droughts, high temperatures and low rainfall.

Health and social impacts
  • Avoidable infectious disease and mortality, waterborne diseases: schistosomiasis, cholera, typhoid and other intestinal infectious conditions.

  • Sanitation compromised without clean water.

  • Hunger and malnutrition: diminished possibilities to grow/prepare food.

  • Economic impacts: time costs to access water and necessary to buy water from tankers.

  • Safety concerns: women collecting water at night and early morning.

  • Familial/educational impacts: parents/children walking long distances to collect water.

  • Personal and social impacts: continuous struggle, personal unhappiness and stress, neighbourhood fights, hatred and division and violent community protests.

Priorities for action
  • Ensure household provision of water via taps in households (overall goal).

  • Improve reporting systems on extent of problem for planning and advocacy:

    • Inventories of households without water.

    • Detailed monitoring of water-related challenges in the community.

    • Fund-raising for monitoring, planning and infrastructure development.

    • Fairer allocation of resources, multisectoral deliberation and partnerships.

  • Strengthen relationships between community structures (community leaders and ward committees) and water management and service delivery authorities.

  • Enable community participation with local government/municipalities in water supply.

  • Strengthen infrastructure and maintenance and advance technologies.

  • Encourage collective responsibility in communities: protection of catchment areas and protect water from contamination. Community awareness campaigns and education.

Reflections on the process
  • Collective experience to understand complex topic.

  • Shared benefit and exchange of understanding.

  • Benefit of principle of respect and valuing participants.

  • Expectations raised for future action.

  • Dissatisfaction over level of reimbursement.

  • Community Police Forum (CPF): a group from communities representing police who meet to discuss safety in communities. They aim to ensure police accountability, transparency and effectiveness. CPFs are established in terms of section 19(1) of the SAPS Act, Act 68 of 1995 (Source: RSA. No. 68 of 95 South African Police Service Act. Pretoria: Republic of South Africa, 1995. Available at: accessed 09.04.2019).