The City of Joburg has promised that water will be gradually available from today in the Sandton/Alexandra areas that have been without water for the past two days.
Desperate residents of Alexandra, one of the city’s oldest townships, were seen collecting water from the Jukskei River.
Environment and infrastructure services MMC Nico de Jager said the process, which was near completion yesterday afternoon, was taking this long because the repair team was taking extra precautionary measures by adding an additional layer of concrete beneath and above the burst pipe.
It was also the “biggest repair project in Johannesburg’s history”, De Jager said.
Although De Jager said the city sent tankers to Alexandra, a mother of two who did not want to be named said they were still waiting for water.
“I want them to at least bring a truck of water or some tanks. There are elderly people who need to take their medication and children are going to school without washing. And toilets are blocked.”
The woman said residents appeared to be collecting water from the Jukskei River or using the water on site.
“When I passed there in the morning, we saw people using that water and we can’t use that water. It’s like water from the toilet. I am worried they want to drink that water.” De Jager said the city was continuing to send water tanks to Alexandra, but there were unavoidable delays.
“We did supply 26 tanks to all areas affected … 10 of those tanks were supplied to Alex and today (yesterday) we increased that by another 16,” he said. “I’m told that in the Sandton area, some people were charging R100 for a bottle of water and if true, that is absolutely criminal.”
He said the damage was caused by long-term erosion of the pipeline which supplied water to several parts of the Sandton/Bryanston area, apparently as a result of corrosive landfill reaching the infrastructure.
“We had to do a 38m excavation because landfill over the years has been allowed to develop along this line and the acid caused erosion of the pipes.”