The City of Cape Town says informal car washes use too much water. Picture: David Ritchie
The City of Cape Town says informal car washes use too much water. Picture: David Ritchie

Cape Town - Use waterless car washes by next Wednesday or face breaking the law and be issued with a R10 000 fine, mayor Patricia de Lille told a gathering of taxi and car wash owners.

The participants clamoured for information from the four companies De Lille invited to demonstrate their wares. 

One company indicated that for R50, cars could be cleaned, inside and out, with a 5-litre can of their solution and two microfibre cloths.

Their enthusiasm was so great that De Lille and mayco members Eddie Andrews and Anda Ntsodo promised they and the companies would go to taxi ranks to demonstrate how to clean the dirtiest, muddiest taxis, so decisions could be made on the best product to invest in.

“I don’t want to issue you with a fine of R10 000, all I want is for us to find each other,” said De Lille. “We are in this together. The water in our dams is for drinking, washing and cooking for ourselves and our children. That is how critical it is.”

Mayor Patricia De Lille shines a door using waterless cleaner. Video: Bronwyn Davids


With level 4b restrictions and the drive to reduce consumption to 500million litres a day and each individual’s consumption to under 87 litres a day, filling pools and washing cars and taxis was not on, she said.

“There are no more exemptions for car washes, they have all been revoked as part of Level 4b. Car washes have been advised to make use of waterless chemical or dry steam products which use little to no water."

“We need businesses to be innovative. Car washes are an important part of our economy and you provide jobs to many residents. My plea is you must all do more to help us conserve water.”

Roman Lebetu, a car wash owner from Khayelitsha, said three years ago he followed the city council’s advice to use a high-pressure cleaner for rinsing the 50 vehicles he washes a day. 

Each vehicle takes a 5-litre bucket of water, but last week law enforcement impounded his cleaner and he was back to using three buckets of water to rinse each car.

Ntsodo promised to look into the matter and Lebetu was left to consider his options. He chose EcoDwash.

Zola Dinga, a car wash owner from Makhaza who washes about 15 taxis a day, favoured Pearl waterless products.

Cape Argus