Municipality acts after thieves steal brass meters

2011-06-23 00:00

ABOUT 20 families found themselves without water in the early hours of yesterday morning in the northern suburb of Panorama when their meters were stolen.

Msunduzi Municipality responded promptly and by noon all the meters had been replaced.

Crystal Pitout (23) who lives in Essenwood Drive, said she heard dogs barking around 2 am but did not think much of it.

“We didn’t go check why the dogs were barking so loud because our neighbour has been having traditional rituals [and] we thought our dogs were barking at that.”

When she went to the kitchen in the morning there was no water. When they went to check the meter, they just saw pipes coming out of the ground where the meter had been.

The young mother said she was most worried about the fact that her eight-year-old son has chicken-pox and must be kept clean.

She was “quite shocked about how fast the municipality responded”.

Harry Hlubi, who reported the incident at The Witness offices “without taking his usual morning bath and tea”, said his wife heard screeching tyres of a vehicle around the same time that Pitout heard dogs barking.

“I feel that my meter is too exposed because it’s situated outside,” Hlubi added.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said the brass water meters were probably stolen to be sold. The meters have to be outside the property, in terms of the by-laws.

“It is strange, though, that all of a sudden we are faced with this problem which we have never had,” he added.

He said the municipality is considering using plastic meters in future.

Each meter costs R800, meaning that the municipality has spent about R16 000 to repair the damage.

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