Water shortages in some parts of the Tshwane Metropolitan Council, which includes the South African administrative capital Pretoria, have become so severe that some schools have been forced to send their students home.

Residents of Laudium and nearby areas west of Pretoria have been without water since Saturday morning. The City of Tshwane Metro Council has attributed the shortages to a 15 per cent cut in water supply by the Rand Water utility.

Children at most schools in Laudium have had to stay home because of water shortages. At a secondary school about 800 pupils were sent back home but about 200 high school seniors had to stay in school as they had to sit for final matriculation examinations.

“No, we do not have water and it is difficult because of the heat wave. It is difficult to bathe and we are having exams and there is nothing to drink,” says one of the students.

The President of the School Principals Association in Gauteng Province, Daya Chetty, said they will approach the Basic Education Department and request it to intervene.

“We have no water. Actually, we have an exam continuing and it is very unhealthy. People can’t use the toilets at the schools. In fact, if this continues like this, we can’t see schools being normal for the better part of the week,” added Chetty.

“We have got matriculants still writing exams and we can’t take water to them and there is no water in the bathrooms. The Grade 8s and 11s are not attending (school) because of that.”