Criminal charges for residents who swore Rand Water workers during water crisis
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Johannesburg - GAUTENG water utility Rand Water intends to lay criminal charges against frustrated members of the public for using abusive language and insults to its employees during the water crisis.
Several areas in the Gauteng province are currently experiencing a severe water shortage crisis engulfing areas around Johannesburg, including public hospitals. The water crisis has affected particular areas in Joburg such as Fairland, Northcliff, Hursthill, Crosby, Coronationville, Montclare, Sophiatown and Brixton.
The water shortages also affected healthcare facilities such as Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Coronationville and Helen Joseph Hospital in Auckland Park where water tankers were brought in to ensure patients and staff members had access to water.
The water outages in Gauteng started around May 19 and several communities have had little or no water for weeks, enraging residents.
As a result, Rand Water spokesperson Justice Mohale announced that the water utility intended to lay criminal charges against members of the public for using abusive language and insults to its employees during the water crisis.
Mohale said the announcement came following a series of email correspondences received by Rand Water’s Customer Service Centre (CSC), in which a member of the public used profanities to express their frustrations
“The latest email was sent to the organisation’s CSC on May 30, 2021. Rand Water views the tone and the abusive language used in the email as unacceptable, undesirable and malicious to its brand,” he said.
Mohale added that the sender of the email implied that water shortages in his area were as a result of the incompetence of Rand Water employees.
“These accusations are unfounded and baseless, since water supply is dependent on interlinkages with other service providers in the water value chain,” Mohale said.
The water utility said it acknowledged that sometimes it encountered challenges in the process of supplying water to its customers. However, when that happens, it said, Rand Water always communicates the challenges it encounters to communities through traditional media and social media platforms until the problems are resolved.
“Although Rand Water appreciates it when members of the public report water interruptions in their respective areas, it will not tolerate abusive language and insults meted against its employees,” Mohale said.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura said on Friday during the Gauteng Provincial Command Council media briefing that the impact of water cuts on the province’s health response to Covid-19 has been terrible.
“We can’t afford water cuts again in our province but we are not in control of water supply so we are using disaster management regulations to supplement the supply of water,” Makhura said.
The premier thanked non-government organisation Gift of the Givers for digging a borehole at Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Coronationville to help supply water to the hospital and the community.
“If we don’t get a constant supply of water now in the middle of the third wave when the numbers are increasing and the pressure is building on the system, to get this help later will be too late,’ Makhura said.