Water flows again in Emfuleni, as repayment discussions continue

2018-01-12 15:20
Emfuleni mayor, Mayco and senior members of the financially vulnerable municipality barricaded the entrance to Rand Water following water cuts due to debt. (Supplied).

Emfuleni mayor, Mayco and senior members of the financially vulnerable municipality barricaded the entrance to Rand Water following water cuts due to debt. (Supplied).

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Johannesburg - Water has been restored to the municipality of Emfuleni in Vereeniging, after burst pipes caused water supply interruptions in certain areas on Thursday, the mayoral spokesperson has said.

Lebo Mofokeng told News24 on Friday morning that, although there were some water interruptions on Thursday, water had been restored and was flowing at 100% pressure.

"Acron Park and Vereeniging experienced interruptions yesterday caused by major water pipe bursts. We had to close off some areas to do some maintenance, but everything is back to normal. We are assured that the water is back," she said.

Mofokeng said that the burst pipe were a result of ageing infrastructure.

READ: Disgruntled mayor barricades Rand Water gates demanding water for residents

"There were bound to be burst pipes here and there because the pipes were dry… water had not flowed through them since Friday, and there is also the fact that we have old infrastructure here," said Mofokeng.

Mofokeng said she hoped that there would be no further interruptions going forward, as the municipality and Rand Water headed back to the drawing board regarding the municipality's payments.

"We are hoping to make a payment [to Rand Water] on January 17. By paying the amount, we are hoping to avert any reductions in water supply," she said.

The town had been without water since Friday, following a debt dispute between the municipality and water board, Rand Water.

Dispute over payment

The municipality owes millions of rands to Rand Water, which resulted in an agreement which states that the water board can reduce water pressure should the municipality fail to pay.

Mayor Jacob Khawe previously told News24 that, in December, the municipality had paid just under R150m. Rand Water disputed this in a statement on Tuesday, saying that the December payment had fallen short by R45m.

Water supply was cut on January 5 during an intense heatwave that hit Gauteng, leading to a flare up of protest action in areas such as Palm Springs over water supply.

A frustrated Khawe barricaded the gates of Rand Water's Glenvista head office on Tuesday. He told News24 that he was with his mayoral committee and senior management in the council, but that he could not sit in his office while residents were without water.

The areas most affected by the water reduction included Vanderbijlpark, Evaton West, Evaton, Evaton North, Lakeside, Sebokeng, Rustervaal and Roshnee, the municipality said at the time.

The reduction in water was also attributed to electricity cable theft, which was said to have affected the pumping of water into municipal reserves.

At the time, Khawe said they were standing outside Rand Water to demand water supply for residents who had been without water since Friday during the searing heatwave in Gauteng.

He said, since taking office on November 29, he had endeavoured to pay the amount with the little that was available, expressing his frustration at the alleged misinformation spread by the water board in the media.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  water  |  local government  |  service delivery

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