Land-grab blamed for illegal water connections

Mamelodi residents, pictured queuing for a water tanker, have been without for several weeks. Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Mamelodi residents, pictured queuing for a water tanker, have been without for several weeks. Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 31, 2024


LAND-GRAB has been highlighted as one of the factors behind illegal water connections on the City of Tshwane’s reservoirs.

As a result of the illegal occupation of land and water connections the City has its water system put under strain with water shortages to residents, according to mayor Cilliers Brink.

Brink expressed the concern during his visit to Mamelodi township where he inspected the extent of illegal water connections in the area this week.

For some time many residents in the township have been left without water owing to illegal connections and Rand Water’s pipe that burst.

Brink said: “We are working on full restoration of water to affected Mamelodi residents. However, the main issue is illegal connections on our water systems by informal settlements. We need to work together to address this matter urgently.”

He cited the main issue behind the water supply problems as being illegal connections into municipal water systems by informal settlements.

“The informal settlements are a result of land grabs. We are working on re-fencing and removing all informal dwellings by the reservoirs,” he said.

Brink told journalists that he has been receiving complaints from residents who wanted to know what was the cause of water shortages in the area.

He said there was a link between illegal connections and water shortages affecting residents.

The recent burst belonging to Rand Water pipes caused problems for the City and it also resulted in the dramatic drop of the reservoir's water level.

On Monday, Brink said, the reservoir level in Mamelodi has increased from 7% to 24%.

Last week, MMC for Utilities and Regional Operations and Coordination, Themba Fosi, announced that the City was intensifying efforts to fight illegal electricity and water connections.

He said: “The prevalence of unauthorised electricity and water connections compromises the integrity of the City’s utility systems and hampers equitable access to services for those who diligently contribute to the City by paying their rates.”

Illegal utility connections, he said, undermined the financial stability of the municipality, impeding the City’s capacity to invest in essential infrastructure and maintain the high standard of services.

“In recognition of the severity of this issue, the City of Tshwane, in collaboration with law enforcement authorities, including the Tshwane Metro Police Department and the SAPS, have implemented stringent measures to identify, address and eradicate illegal utility connections. The enforcement of these measures is crucial to safeguard the integrity of our utility networks, preserve revenue streams and ensure the sustainable delivery of services to our residents,” he said.

Last month, municipal officials came under attack while acting against illegal connections at the Mabopane Reservoir, north of the city.

The officials were held hostage and threatened with violence when angry residents who had connected illegally to the network blocked the entrance of the reservoir with rocks to prevent the officials who had finished executing the disconnection action from exiting.

The City has appealed to residents to report any suspicious or unauthorised utility connections on 012 358 7095/7096 or Eskom on 08600 37566.

Pretoria News

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