Repeat of 2016 water crises leaves residents ‘Gatvol’

POLOKWANE – Two years ago, residents of wards 20, 21, 22 and 23 met with the mayor during a meeting held in Bendor. The municipality came under heavy scrutiny, with residents saying there is an inability to plan, which led to the water cuts.

Read more: Frank Haas from the DA speaks to Review after the meeting

Nkadimeng, at the time, admitted the problem was not a scarcity of water, but the challenge of getting the water to the city, as cable theft and wastage were key contributors to the situation. She also blamed the situation on those who were in office “even two years before I was born”.

During the meeting, it was also suggested that the municipality consult with engineers who used to work in the water department decades ago, who could assist in solutions. The municipality has since not taken up the suggestion.

Fast forward to 2018 and Flora Park, Fauna Park, Ster Park and Serala View residents are in the same boat.

Residents met with Polokwane Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng during a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the ongoing water shortages in the area as high lying areas, these neighbourhoods have been severely affected by water shortages over the last few weeks.

You might also want to read: Municipal manager meets with Lepelle Northern Water over inconsistent supply to Polokwane

The meeting was held at Flora Park Comprehensive High School and gave residents the opportunity to raise their concerns and grievances regarding the water crisis.

Polokwane Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng addresses Polokwane residents regarding the water shortage situation at Flora Park Comprehensive High school.

The mayor explained that the cause of the shortage was low reservoir levels as a result of insufficient supply to the city. This in turn had been caused by loadshedding at the Ebenezer and Olifantspoort plants, she said.

She said the municipality was working hand in hand with Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) and Eskom to ensure that water is restored to all affected area. In the meantime, she said, water tankers will continue to be dispersed throughout the area. Locals complained to this, saying the tankers arrive at night and communication regarding the schedule is non-existent.

René Oosthuizen from Ivydale asks the Polokwane mayor how the municipality will ensure that water is used sparingly and only essentially for household needs during these times of water cuts. Right: Violet Mokwenyana from Flora Park queries the municipality’s water billing systems, saying the area does not have water, yet when the bill arrives “we owe thousands of Rand for water we didn’t even have”.

Another solution she offered was for residents to use water sparingly. Some residents wanted to know how the municipality was going to enforce this.

Residents furthermore complained about the municipality’s billing system.

“We do not have water, but when the water bill comes we supposedly owe thousands of Rand for water which we did not even use,” said Valentia Mokwenyama from Flora Park.

The mayor commented that at this point, reservoirs levels were improving steadily.

She appealed to the public to use water sparingly so reservoir levels could become stable.

“Water consumption should be restricted to domestic or household usage only. We appeal to residents who have supply of water via boreholes to stop watering their gardens and reserve water for consumption only. This will ensure that water that is pumped into the reservoirs is able to reach levels that generate enough pressure to supply all areas.”

Aubrey Moselema from Flora Park, suggested to the Mayor to outsource water trucks from those community members who have water trucks as not only will help alleviate the problem of water shortages but also help in decreasing unemployment in the city.

She advised residents who have queries regarding their water bills to visit the municipality.

The mayor added that for the water shortage situation to be resolved quicker, they will enforce restrictions that prohibit the watering of gardens during periods of high water demand.

Fines will be issued for those who don’t heed this request, with community safety officers being deployed to enforce this council resolution.

She assured that the municipality will improve on their communications strategies regarding issues that affect the community.

She pleaded for patience, saying maintenance and upgrades are ongoing with roads being fixed, and asbestos pipes being replaced to the city can become “the metropolitan municipality it aspires to be”.

For more info on water tankers, contact the municipality’s Water and Sanitation Unit on (015) 290 237, 290 2376 or 290 2377.

Residents of all areas in the meantime remain hopeful that there will be water in their taps on any given day.

Water distribution points can be viewed at www.polokwane.gov.za.

reporter29@nmgroup.co.za

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