Sabotage, ageing infrastructure blamed for water outage

Water shortage looming in Gauteng. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 23/09/2014

Water shortage looming in Gauteng. Picture: Antoine de Ras, 23/09/2014

Published Jun 26, 2024


The City of Tshwane is beset by problems of ageing infrastructure and acts of sabotage that have been blamed for prolonged water outages in Bronkhorstspruit and surrounding areas in Region 7.

MMC for utility services Themba Fosi said he observed first-hand the challenges stemming from the ageing infrastructure in Region 7 during his oversight visit with Mayor Cilliers Brink.

This came after the Pretoria News last week reported that residents in the area went for days without water after the couplings used for joining pipes to Zithobeni reservoir were stretched and blasted shortly after the repairs were done.

The City has since said the repairs were successfully completed, but pointed out that its infrastructure is old and vulnerable to acts of sabotage.

During the visit to Bronkhorstspruit water purification and treatment plants, Fosi acknowledged the impact of the breakdowns on residents, saying the City is taking decisive action to rectify the situation.

“Significant repairs have been completed at the Bronkhorstspruit and Zithobeni reservoir, resulting in improved water-levels and ensuring that households serviced by this facility have access to water,” Fosi said.

He, however, said the Rethabiseng reservoir supplying the Ekangala area continues to experience interruptions due to multiple infrastructure failures.

“We are prioritising efforts to restore full service in this area and are closely monitoring the distribution of water tankers to provide immediate relief to affected communities,” Fosi said.

He said the City is committed to a comprehensive redesign in the new financial year aimed at addressing infrastructure vulnerabilities and mitigating acts of sabotage.

“To bolster these efforts, we will engage with water treatment plant experts to conduct a thorough examination and provide strategic recommendations,” Fosi said.

Municipal spokesperson Selby Bokaba condemned an act of sabotage in Rethabiseng township.

He said it has come to the City’s attention that there is a deliberate act of sabotage in Rethabiseng aimed at denying the residents their human right of access to water.

He said the act of sabotage by unscrupulous people to close the Rethabiseng valve, resulting in water gushing out into the veld has compounded the challenge for residents of Rethabiseng and Ekangala not having water supply.

“Some of the City’s customers in Region 7 were forced to endure a prolonged water outage following complications while the City’s technicians were fixing a major leak on a main bulk pipeline that supplies Zithobeni Reservoir, last Wednesday,” Bokaba said.

He said water supply has since been restored to all the low-lying areas, except in the high-lying areas of Ekangala and Rethabiseng.

Bokaba said the sabotage act of opening of the valve might have been one of the contributing factors why those two areas didn’t have water.

“It is clear that some people had tampered with the valve with the devious objective of denying residents access to water,” he said.

Pretoria News

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