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Gauteng water woes to continue for the foreseeable future

Taps are running dry. A social entrepreneur who developed dry baths may have one of the answers in response to this crisis. File Picture: ANA

Taps are running dry. A social entrepreneur who developed dry baths may have one of the answers in response to this crisis. File Picture: ANA

Published Oct 20, 2023


Residents in three Gauteng metros of Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Johannesburg have been experiencing persistent water shortages in recent months.

Again, some residents are without water, the City of Ekurhuleni this week blamed power failure for it.

“Ekurhuleni is providing water tankers to mitigate the effects of a water outage in Vosloorus and Tsakani following the tripping of power at Rand Water’s Mapleton facility. The power failure collapsed on October 16, 2023, resulting in a total stoppage of pumping,” said city spokesperson Zweli Dlamini.

He said the city dispatched water to tankers to the various areas affected by the situation, including Vosloorus, Tsakane, Langaville, Geluksdal, Labore and Withok.

This problem has been described as violating human rights, because in order for people to survive, they need water.

Some residents in Tsakane, KwaThema and other parts of Ekurhuleni exposed themselves to serious health risks, such as cholera at the time of collecting water from dirty rivers not too far from their homes.

Johannesburg Water said the South Hills tower’s water levels have shown immense improvement.

“As a result, residents in this supply zone are now getting steady water supply,” said the entity.

JW will host a media briefing today (Friday) to update residents on the state of water supply in the city.

Last month, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu instructed Rand Water to immediately shift water loads towards some of the city's dry reservoirs in a bid to ensure communities with dry taps have some water.

About a week ago, Water and Sanitation Department's Director-General, Sean Phillips, said there was no assurance that challenges in water supply would be curbed in the foreseeable future.

This was after the department warned that the next five years are going to be hard for people of Gauteng.

There’s been reports of mafias and syndicates reported to have sabotaged and damaged water infrastructure in order to get tenders to supply water in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Limpopo and other parts.

Water and Sanitation spokesperson Wisane Mavasa said the department had not received any formal reports, complaints, or evidence on the allegations.

“The department calls on anyone who has evidence of any corruption, sabotage, or intentional damage to water infrastructure to report the matter to law enforcement agencies, the Anti-corruption hotline on 0800 701 701 or to DWS customer care number 0800 200 200 to enable relevant institutions to investigate,” said Mavasa.

Activists and Citizens Forum condemned the ongoing water crisis in some parts of the country.

The forum said it is totally unacceptable that people must go through this hell.

Activists and Citizens Forum spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the water crisis affects everybody more, especially school children. Some of them are forced to stay away from school because there is no water to wash themselves and wash their school uniform.

“Once again, nobody wants to take responsibility for this mess. In this country, there are no consequences for incompetency,” Bloem said.