Pretoria – The furore which erupted over the weekend could have been avoided if the City of Tshwane had properly managed the compulsory water restrictions, Rand Water has said.
Water supply to communities west of Pretoria was cut off from Saturday, leaving residents angry and feeling like “second class” citizens.
“The city should have managed it properly to avoid confusion,” Rand Water spokesman Justice Mohale told the Pretoria News.
He said Rand Water convened technical meetings in Joburg every Monday and representatives from the city were always among the participants. The meetings discussed, among other issues, water restrictions, he said.
Mohale said all municipalities in the province participated in the throttling exercise, launched by the Department and Water and Sanitation in an effort to save dwindling water resources. Municipalities are supposed to take 15% from water supplied to residents.
Laudium residents had their water cut off without prior notice on Saturday, and this threw them into a frenzy, demanding answers and the immediate restoration of the service.
In his response to social media queries on Sunday afternoon, mayor Solly Msimanga said: “We are aware and working on the water problem in Laudium. The problem is a result of over-throttling from Rand Water as part of the restrictions.”
But that explanation was rejected by the residents, who said the city would have known before implementation. “We would have been warned and told to prepare,” a resident said at a public meeting to discuss the water situation in Laudium. The residents held an emergency meeting, where they said 36 hours without water, with no official explanation, was a sign of disrespect.
They said it was a service delivery and human rights violation and wanted the mayor to address them on the matter. The municipality acknowledged the lack of water in the area and dispatched 10 tankers of 10 000 litres each to the affected communities, adding four more by Monday morning.
City spokesman Lindela Mashigo said reservoirs had become low by Saturday. When water started trickling into the area Monday morning, he said: “The reservoir recovered a bit and managed to supply water to low lying areas.”
The high lying areas would battle until there was enough water to apply pressure upwards, he said. Night time when water use was very low would allow that, Mashigo added.@ntsandvose