Council denies 17-yr leak, activists insist it’s true

2015-11-25 09:49
Water conservation enthusiast Sandile Masondo crouches next to the burst pipe in Howick that has been gushing kilolitres of clean drinking water every day for the last 17 years.

Water conservation enthusiast Sandile Masondo crouches next to the burst pipe in Howick that has been gushing kilolitres of clean drinking water every day for the last 17 years. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - The Umgungundlovu District Municipality says it was alerted to a leaking water pipe in Howick four years ago, and had conducted repairs then.

However, it had since been vandalised, resulting in a leak springing up again.

This was according to a statement from the municipality yesterday, following a report in Monday’s Witness that the pipe had been leaking for 17 years.

“The recent article in The Witness on November 23, 2015 cannot be accepted at face value as it is an exaggeration of facts. The pipeline in question was reported approximately four years ago and it was repaired.

“However, it has since been established that it has been vandalised, causing unacceptable water leakage. Parts of the valve have been removed, causing serious water wastage,” said the statement.

However, Dusi uMngeni Conservation Trust (Duct) members Moses Kilozo and Liz Taylor hit back, saying they had verbal verification from residents as well as Duct member and Howick resident Sandile Masondo that the pipe — on the bank of the Umgeni River in the Siphumelele area in Howick — had been leaking since at least 2002.

Masondo said he and his friends had spent many days after school by the river, exploring its banks.

“I was in grade nine when my friends and I first found the pipe. That was in 2002, 13 years ago,” he said.

As a young boy, he had not thought to report the leak. However, as he became more environmentally aware, and found the burst pipe was still gushing water in 2011, he knew he had to report it.

In 2011, Masondo and Kilozo made a film which showed the force of the water leak from the pipe, as well as leaks on properties around Howick.

Kilozo confirmed that the pipe had leaked in 2011 at the same force seen by a Witness reporter and photographer two weeks ago.

He said he had worked in the area for a number of years and scores of residents had told him that the pipe had been leaking for over 13 years.

The municipality said technicians were “working around the clock” to fix the leak. 

“We request the public to report vandalism and burst pipes to our toll free number 080 086 4911, where operators are on hand to advise technicians.

“We encourage non-governmental organisations to partner with the municipality to save this precious resource, especially in the light of the current debilitating drought conditions,” it said.
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

How much food do you need to concentrate?

We have been taught that we need three meals a day in order to make it through the day and while most of us indulge in more than our fair share there is a large portion of South Africans who are living off barely enough to sustain them.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.