Water ignites tempers

2018-03-28 06:01
Residents who grabbed whatever container there was in their household to go and queue for water.  Photo: Boipelo Mere

Residents who grabbed whatever container there was in their household to go and queue for water. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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It was all but a lesson in water conservation and unity for the community of the Sol Plaatje Municipality to survive what was meant to be a three-day water cut over the past weekend.

This follows the municipality’s notification that there would be water cuts from Friday morning (23/03) until midnight on Sunday (25/03).

The reason for the cut in water supply was attributed to the installation of a new pumping station at Riverton to enhance capability and see the immediate installation of four new high-volume pumps.

Things did however not go as expected and desperation and frustration kicked in as residents left their comfort zone to search for water throughout the city.

The interruption in the water supply continued for longer than expected, due to challenges experienced with the installation of the replacement pipe at the mental hospital site on Monday (26/03) morning.

This resulted in protests, as JoJo tanks ran dry and everyone craved for the sight of water running.

Residents of Ward 19 in Montshiwa blocked roads and threatened to camp there throughout Monday night. They claim to have been sidelined in terms of tank allocation and therefore had to travel long distances to fetch water.

Anger also sparked at 2000 and 4ways Phatsimang, as well as in Dingaan Street.

Ward 2 vandalists were criticised for snatching residents’ access to the valuable resource after stealing the taps from the provided JoJo tanks over the weekend.

According to Vicus Jeremy, a Homelite resident, the tanks were never filled after the incident, leaving the community even more frustrated in their search for water.

“I started my search for water at 09:00 on Monday at different points and only returned to the house at midnight after getting some from waterworks in town,” he revealed.

Only some parts of Galeshewe had access to water by Tuesday (27/03) morning, while some residents were witnessed pushing around wheelbarrows in a continued search.

In the upper part of the city there was still no water, with expectations that some offices would again close earlier due to health hazards.

Executive Mayor Mangaliso Matika apologised for the delay in the water supply and for the inconvenience caused in this regard.

He gave clarity that on Tuesday morning, the water was still being pumped to the flood system, following the Newton Reservoir being switched on.

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