‘Anger’ over spring

2017-06-13 06:02
This Muizenberg heritage building was vandalised because the spring water, which runs off the property, dried up, says the owner.

This Muizenberg heritage building was vandalised because the spring water, which runs off the property, dried up, says the owner.

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A Muizenberg resident has been left reeling after his property, a heritage building, was vandalised and swear words spray-painted on the stone wall.

The vandalism was as a result of spring water, which runs off the property, drying up, says the property owner, who did not want to be named.

Although the property owners have a registered well point with the City of Cape Town, they have no control over spring water flowing from the property.

The spring water runs sporadically, and at times is just a trickle, say he property owner.

“The spring water runs unimpeded from the mountain underneath the main house into a reservoir, before overflowing and running out into the trough on the road. The strength of the water flowing out continually changes and there can be days that there is no water running into the trough, and then without notice, it will start running again,” he says. “This system of pipes was installed when the house was built in the early 1900s.”

The property owner says he can only assume desperation for water is behind the vandalism.

“Prior to the drought, hardly anyone came to collect water, save for a few locals periodically. But of late there have been crowds – sometimes quite unruly – trying to harvest truck loads from the erratic water flow.

“After the water slowed to a trickle, vandals sprayed graffiti on the wall of the building,” he says.

In addition, Skeel has on several occasions posted notices warning those taking the water that it is not fit for consumption due to the low level of the water in the reservoir and after rats were seen swimming in it. However, all his notices were torn down, the property owner says.

The water point has now turned into a nightmare for the residents.

“Someone sprayed graffiti all along the fence and our meticulously restored historical stone wall. There have been scuffles amongst the people collecting water and haphazardly parking on, and partially on, the pavement in a dangerous way plus frequently blocking the driveway entrance to the property, and refusing to move when we want to come in or out,” he says.

“And, of course, the verbal threats and abuse when the water is not available: A very frightening experience from an angry crowd, which has been going on for almost a month.”

Muizenberg police had not commented at the time of going to print.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water, waste services and energy, says the use of borehole water is regulated by the national department of water and sanitation.

“It will take at least three consecutive winters of above-average rainfall to make a real difference.

“With drought as the new normal, we have to break out of the old ways of doing things in order to protect our city’s sustainability.”

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