Home News Residents slam ’incompetent’ Sol over looming water shutdown

Residents slam ’incompetent’ Sol over looming water shutdown

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As the Sol Plaatje Municipality reminded Kimberley residents to prepare for another three-day water shutdown, starting on Thursday, local businesses and residents have accused the local authority of being incompetent in addressing its water woes.

File picture: Danie van der Lith

AS THE Sol Plaatje Municipality reminded Kimberley residents to prepare for another three-day water shutdown, starting on Thursday, local businesses and residents have accused the municipality of being incompetent in addressing its water woes.

Residents said water wastage in the city has become the “norm” and the municipality has turned a blind eye and gone deaf to reports on pipe bursts.

“We have more water running down the streets in the different areas than we have in our taps. Some areas have been suffering water shutdowns for months now. We have reported these incidents to the municipality several times. All the municipality does when you report a pipe burst is to supply one with a reference number, but they never attend to the problem,” an irate resident pointed out.

“There are several areas that look like swimming pools but yet nobody does anything about resolving the problem. The city has been suffering water shutdowns for so many years and we are repeatedly told that there are valves or pipes that need to be replaced, but then the same replaced pipes need to be repaired over again. Why is this an ongoing problem that the municipality just cannot find a permanent solution to?”

The CEO of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, said it is “incomprehensible” that the water shutdowns are scheduled during the busiest time for local businesses.

“Kimberley has been having a water shutdown every year for almost the past six years. These shutdowns are almost always around the same time in November or the festive season. These are the busiest times for businesses, yet the municipality hampers the revenue for businesses,” said Steyn.

“There are many businesses that are trying to survive from the total lockdown but the water shortage, at this time of the year, is making it challenging to those businesses.

“The municipality also does not explain what exactly the major challenge is that they are facing with the pipeline, as they are always attending to the same pipeline. What is the real situation at the pipeline and who are the contractors working on the pipeline that they just cannot fix the problem?”

Steyn added that previous experience had shown that the municipality never stuck to its announced schedule.

“So far the announcement states that water will be shut down on Thursday and will be back again late on Sunday afternoon. However, everyone knows that that is never the case. We will receive reports next Monday that the reservoir does not have sufficient water or that the work took longer than anticipated.

“How are residents and businesses supposed to survive an entire weekend without running water in the middle of a pandemic and in this heat?

“The residents and businesses in the city have to pay rates and taxes and yet the municipality does not play its part in addressing the challenges they face in a proper manner.

“Why can they not shut down the areas that are problematic and address the problem instead of having to make the entire city suffer? Each year it is just the same story.”

She added that while the municipality has taken measures to make water available to residents through water tankers, many businesses would struggle to get to the water points.

“The water points are situated far from some businesses. Also, the municipality is proud to announce that there will be JoJo tanks available to residents but that means long lines in the heat. Some residents would have to make several trips to the JoJo tanks,” Steyn noted.

Mediclinic Gariep spokesperson Denise Coetzee said they have sufficient resources to survive the water shutdown.

“We have boreholes at both Gariep Mediclinic and Kimberley Mediclinic. We will not be affected or run out of water during the water shutdown,” said Coetzee.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie urged residents to make the necessary preparations for the water shutdown.

Matsie said the reason for the shutdown is to allow for repairs on major leaks on the pipeline from Riverton and other sites in the city.

He said the municipality would provide water tankers.

“Water tankers will be placed at specific sites across the city, while others will focus on medical institutions such as hospitals. JoJo tanks will be referred on an ongoing basis across the city. Water points will be at Newton Reservoir and the emergency service’s site at the Civic Centre.

“We urge all residents to make adequate supply provisions for the duration until Sunday. The municipality regrets the interruption but it is necessary for continued supply of water,” Matsie said.

Pictures: Danie van der Lith
Newton Reservoir.
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