Nocci has pleaded with Sol Plaatje Municipality to be ’transparent’ and to inform Kimberley residents and businesses about what went wrong and prolonged the planned city-wide water shutdown.
THE NORTHERN Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) has pleaded with Sol Plaatje Municipality to be “transparent” and to inform Kimberley residents and businesses about what went wrong and prolonged the planned city-wide water shutdown.
This is after some areas in the city were still without water on Monday afternoon following the planned water interruption scheduled for November 18 to 21.
The municipality had last week assured residents that water would start running from their taps from Sunday afternoon.
The local authority did not respond to media enquiries to provide updates on the prolonged water interruption.
The municipality posted on its Facebook page on Monday morning that all work on the bulk and reticulation water supply lines had been completed by 8am.
It indicated that it was only working on a last site in Edgerton Road, near the Halfway House, which it said was 90 percent completed, “with only the bend outstanding to boost the pressure in the area”.
“The supply from Riverton has resumed and the system is busy recharging until all areas have water. No leaks are present on the supply lines and all valves on the lines are being manually inspected to ensure that they are open,” read the municipality’s update.
“The bend will be installed once all areas have received water, and will not require a water supply interruption to be completed.”
The prolonged water shutdown sparked outrage from already “gatvol” residents on Monday.
Many schools were affected and pupils had to be sent home at 10am, while many businesses and offices in the city were also forced to close early on Monday.
The Northern Cape Department of Education had to make the necessary arrangements with several schools to allow pupils to write their examinations and thereafter be sent home early.
Department spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe explained that the arrangement was in place for schools that do not have any additional water resources in place, such as JoJo tanks.
“This decision was taken to ensure that we don’t place the lives of educators, learners and support staff at schools at risk. We do hope that this matter is resolved as soon as possible,” said Van der Merwe.
Long queues of people, most of them holding empty buckets and containers, were meanwhile left waiting for the municipal water trucks at the entrance of Lerato Park Phase 1 since Sunday.
The residents said the trucks never arrived on Sunday and their taps were still dry on Monday.
One water tanker arrived at the site at around lunchtime on Monday. The residents were, however, left frustrated that the tanker did not contain enough water for everybody.
Nocci CEO Sharon Steyn pointed out on Monday that ratepayers were furious about the water still being off.
She added that it was unacceptable for the municipality to be fixing the “same pipes” every time.
“They are always working on the pipe near the Halfway House and they ‘fixed’ the 3SAI line last year. What is happening and what is continuing to go wrong that they are not telling us about?” asked Steyn.
“The municipality did not disappoint me again and did exactly what I said it would do. The water interruption was prolonged and there were no more updates to residents.
“There are no water tankers, despite promises, except for the ones availed by volunteers like Hancor, who supplied old age homes and hospitals with water.
“This is beyond shocking for residents to be without water for up to five days.
“There is absolutely no consideration that we are still in the Covid-19 pandemic, in this heat,” added Steyn.
At 5pm on Monday, the municipality eventually apologised for the “inconvenience” and explained that the delay in the supply of water was due to a “problematic” valve.
“We are happy to report that a valve that was problematic, which actually reduced supply towards Kimberley, has been repaired,” said municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie.
“Newton Reservoir pumps have been started and the entire city reticulation network should start receiving water.
“We will, however, continue with nightly shutdowns to improve the reservoir levels – from 8pm daily till further notice,” Matsie added.
According to Matsie, the supply from Riverton resumed on Sunday, as planned, and the system started recharging to supply all areas in the city with water.
Matsie said a team was at the Riverton Purification Plant to monitor the supply pressure and had observed that the pumping capacity wasn’t optimal.