Philippi residents gather at a communal water point.     Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)
Philippi residents gather at a communal water point. Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Flats elderly, kids ‘without water supply’ after city turns off the taps

By ASANDA SOKANYILE Time of article published Apr 4, 2020

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Cape Town - WASHING one’s hands may now be the order of the day but many Capetonians say they have been denied the right to health as their water supply has been cut off by the municipality.

More than 50 families on the Cape Flats are without water, including the elderly and children.

Those living in Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Delft said they have pleaded with the City of Cape Town Council to reinstate their water supply.

Eunice Siyo, 80, of Langa, said her residence has been without water since March 10.

“I had been taken out by a family friend to celebrate my 80th birthday that day. Upon my return I was informed by children in the neighbourhood that my water had been cut off. I live alone and struggle to get water,” she said.

“The children in the neighbourhood already know that when they see me I will ask them to fetch buckets of water for me from nearby municipal flats. It has become a struggle to even do basic things such as laundry, maintaining personal hygiene or something as simple as a cup of coffee.”

Ivy Moyo, 71, and who suffers from “womb complications”, said she has tried to make payments and negotiate with the municipality.

“I am not refusing to pay for the water, I will pay, I pay whenever I can. I am a sickly woman and need to take medication all the time and now I cannot because my taps are dry.

“My neighbour’s son has been cooped up in his shack because since their water supply was cut he started falling ill.

“He has had a headache since, (and) we are afraid that this virus may attack us easily because we are not able to protect ourselves sufficiently because of the City of Cape Town.

“Please reinstate our water supply, even if it is just for this period while the country is dealing with this virus, please.”

Mayco member for finance, Ian Neilson, said: “New trickle-flow water restrictions due to municipal debt were suspended on Friday, March 20. As for existing restrictions due to municipal debt, it must be noted that water is not cut off.

“It is restricted to a running trickle-flow after numerous warning letters have been sent to pay municipal debt and efforts to engage residents on debt management arrangements have not been successful.

“The water is not cut off, but the flow is reduced so that people can still use the water for hygiene and drinking.”

Mayco member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg, said while Capetonians continued to wash their hands regularly to curb the spread of the coronavirus, “overall water use across the city has reduced since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis by approximately 60 million litres of water per day”.

“The City is supplying just under 700 million litres of water per day,” she said.

Weekend Argus

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