Drought affects car washes

2016-03-18 06:00
Siyakudumisa Nomake washes a car at Big Time Car Wash. Photo: SIPHELELE NKETO

Siyakudumisa Nomake washes a car at Big Time Car Wash. Photo: SIPHELELE NKETO

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WATER Week is being celebrated throughout South Africa from 17 to 23 March, however, the drought has affected everyone­ and many businesses, including car-wash owners in Kokstad.

On Monday the Department of Water and Sanitation, countrywide marked Water Week under the theme “Water for people. Water by people”.

Fever spoke to Siyakudumisa Nomake­ (20), who works at Big Time Car Wash in Kokstad, who said the situation­ is bad because when there is no water his salary decreases.

"I am not permanently employed. I wash cars part-time so I can save money­ for my tertiary education next year.

“If the drought continues we [car-wash employees] are going to lose jobs."

Another man, who is also washes cars next to the river said: "The drought has forced me and my friends to move from town to the banks of this river.
“We don't have stress now because we do not depend on the municipality to give us water."

Big Time Car Wash owner John Sukude­ (45) said his two-year-old business is going down because of the drought.

"I started this car wash after seeing a business opportunity in Kokstad. My visions of employing more unemployed youth are dying now because of the drought.

“It's horrible here because instead of paying extra staff I hire cars to bring water from the river and fill my two tanks.

“I even thought about closing the business, but because of the unemployed youth I employ I am forced to continue."

When Fever journalist visited his car wash, workers were using buckets to wash vehicles, and said they were not aware that it is Water Week.

"Every day we save water by not wasting or abusing it," said one worker.

Spokesperson from the department Mlimandlela Ndamase has appealed to South Africans to play a role in conserving and protecting the country's water resources.

"This year National Water Week comes at a time when this precious resource faces a number of challenges across the country, among others are drought and the general increase in the demand for water.

“The department is working closely with provinces to address the challenges in the short, medium to long-term," said Ndamase.

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