FOR YEARS, residents of Dlomo Street in Mofolo Village have had to contend with water pipes bursting at least twice a month, leaving them without running water for days.
Every time there is a burst pipe, water flows down the street and there is the inevitable open trench in the pavement.
Irate residents again went without water at the weekend after a pipe burst twice last week.
This is a never-ending story, said local resident Martha Ngwenya. “A week never goes by without an open trench being dug outside somebody’s yard. We are forced to keep water in buckets in case we experience the situation again.”
Ngwenya said that when there was no running water, she had no alternative but to collect water from the trench, as she did at the weekend.
“From Saturday morning we went without water. I had to wash school uniforms, cook and bath. I had no choice but to collect water from the ditch to have some at home. I couldn’t allow my children to go back to school with unwashed clothes.”
Ngwenya said Johannesburg Water workers could be seen in the area each time there was a complaint, but they took time to respond and fix the situation. “They come to fix pipes but the problem just occurs again in a few days’ time.“
Themba Mashele, who lives a few houses away from Ngwenya, said he had misplaced reference numbers he got from Johannesburg Water every time he lodged a complaint. “A new reference number is given to me every time I call. But it takes them one or two days to arrive and fix the pipe. Sometimes I witness muddy water after flushing the toilet or opening a tap. It is problematic,” he said
Mashele said he did not understand why Johannesburg Water was taking time to install new pipes in the area. “This is the main pipe that supplies water into our houses. How do they expect us to live in such conditions?”
Johannesburg Water spokesman Baldwin Matsimela said the problem was a result of the ongoing infrastructure upgrade taking place in Soweto.
“A total of R1.6 billion has been set aside for the project in the greater Soweto area. The city of Joburg aims to have fixed the water situation in Soweto by 2014. We are replacing old pipes, and this might cause problems in certain areas where residents might go without water,” he said.
March 27 2012
IOL News for SA