Council moves too slow on leaks

2016-05-18 12:47
A vehicle drives through a river of water from a burst pipe on Sweetwaters Road.

A vehicle drives through a river of water from a burst pipe on Sweetwaters Road. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Copesville residents have questioned whether the city is serious about conserving water.

The residents raised their doubts while voicing their concerns that the area has been drowning in leaks as a result of burst pipes.

A resident who did not want to be named, counted five water leaks which he said he had reported to the municipality, but which had not been repaired for over two weeks.

With the current councillor Thandi Ndlovu’s whereabouts unknown since protesters besieged the area about a month ago calling for her to step down, the residents said they do not know who to turn to. “If you phone Msunduzi call centre now, they will just take down the details but nobody will come to repair the damage.

“It is a crisis now as the municipality is not attending to our problems. There is no hurry to fix burst pipes that are resulting in thousands of kilolitres of crystal clear water being lost,” said the resident.

While Ndlovu declined to comment on the matter, neighbouring ward councillor Rooksana Ahmed said she had received calls from “concerned” Copesville residents who “did not know who to turn to”.

“They had been calling the municipality without anybody coming out to repair the pipes. This raises one question — is the municipality taking the issue of water shortages as seriously as the residents are taking it?

“With these water shortages, we cannot have water running for 24 hours.”

Ahmed said it was clear that the municipality could not cope with the amount of burst pipes being experienced.

“The problem with Msunduzi is that the infrastructure is in a bad way,” said Ahmed.

The residents also raised issues about broken street lights in the area that are “welcoming” crime.

A resident who asked not to be named said they had experienced “major hassles” with regards to theft of electricity.

“People get electrocuted almost daily by connecting electricity illegally,” the resident said.

He said the dark streets at night attract thieves and on a weekly basis there are houses and cars that are broken into.

“We cannot even walk around at night or visit our neighbour. We have had break-ins and armed robberies at our homes,” he said.

The resident added that metres of live cables run across Copesville Drive into the informal settlement.

“When cars drive on the main road you can actually see the sparks fly from those live cables. It is very dangerous and we have nowhere to turn too,” he said.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  water

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