Komani areas run dry



All-too familiar water woes have hit parts of Komani, leaving residents anxious and frustrated.

Van area residents in Victoria Park and Aloevale said they have had little or no water since Saturday without any clarity from Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) on what is going on.

“We understand that there are water shortages, but all we are asking for is just a little water, even if only for a few hours. We were promised water trucks, but I have not seen one,” said Victoria Park resident, Ursula Redcliff, who has had no water since Sunday.

Ezille Ruiters, also from Victoria Park, said they were l9ving in unhygienic conditions, a situation made worse by the fact the country is battling Covid-19. “How are we supposed to live? Two or three people have to go to the toilet before we flush. There is no hygiene and some of us have old and sick people at home. It is not fair. If we do not pay our accounts they cut us off, but they do not deliver services. Every time you call the call centre it is a different story. It is either the dams are empty or something is broken,” she said.

Some residents said the shortages were starting to affect them at work.

“I fought with my manager at work because I said could not stay late and I am constantly in a rush to get home. The water is gone by 7am. Even when there is, it is in  dribs and drabs and takes 30 minutes to fill one five litre bottle. No one can live without water. You can imagine going five days without any. There is no warning or notice from CHDM,” said Lucretia Arendse.

“On Tuesday it was available around 9am. It is a problem for us who have to go to wor k. We use the water we had the night before and in the morning we have nothing. At the very least, if they let us have water around 5am we would understand,” added Eugene Falnal from Aloevale.

In Nomzamo business owner Jomo Jaxa said he was frustrated after organising a water truck that was diverted to another area. “We have not had water for a week. The tank at my premises has run dry. I spoke to the mayor and they organised a truck to deliver water here. It was diverted by certain councillors to their areas so that they could use it for politicking. I have a car and have no problem going home to New Town to fill my containers, but what about the people who have no means? They think I organised the truck for my business, but at the end of the day it is people who suffer,” said Jaxa.

Van committee chairman Cliff Pringle said: “CHDM promised to install water tanks in the Van areas. However, it is clear they were not serious. The councillors who are  supposed to assist us are too busy with their own things, so this not an option.

“The one thing that will force them to listen and take note of is protest action, but they know too well that this is never going to happen because a lot of us do not want to sacrifice our time to do that. I say again, for as long as we don’t want to stand up and fight for our rights, these municipalities will always treat us like rubbish.”

In response to queries about the dry taps, CHDM spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo said the outages were caused by pipeline valve leakages at the Xonxa Dam and Berry Dam.

“To understand the inconsistent water supply in some areas, please note that all areas are each getting 12 hours of pumping – feeding reservoirs such as Finchams, high lying areas; Ezibeleni and Mlungisi.  When the sump (main water storage point) becomes very low; or when reservoirs run empty due to water demand, they take time to fill up and supply the entire zone.  Water is closed from 8pm and valves are opened from 3am – 4am and some areas will start getting water immediately whilst some will start from 5am.  However, the usage immediately becomes so high that the reservoirs quickly run out of water supply, water literally runs in and out, and this affects the high lying areas such as Aloevale, Newvale, Sabata, Victoria Park and Komani Park,” she said.

Mqamelo added that repairs would continue for another set of valves in Xonxa from July 5, something that will impact water supply. A notice will be out on July 1.

On the tanks for Vans, Mqamelo said two were available and a team would be deployed yesterday to find suitable areas for their installation.