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The mayor meets angry residents from Region B

He tried to gain confidence in his commitment to improve service delivery but was unable to promise any immediate relief to the water crisis in the area.

In poverty-stricken Coronationville, City of Joburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda addressed community members from Region B about water shortages and service delivery problems that plague the area.

Dolores Williams (70) says, “It is unfair and inhumane that we have to get up as pensioners at midnight to try and get a little water in our buckets for the next day when the taps run dry.”

Bishop Dulton Adams African Christian Democratic Party Gauteng chairperson and Member of the Provincial Legislature was in attendance. Photo: Emily Wellman Baiin
Bishop Dulton Adams African Christian Democratic Party Gauteng chairperson and Member of the Provincial Legislature was in attendance. Photo: Emily Wellman Baiin

She says water tankers irregularly service the area with many being unable to walk and carry their water containers when the trucks are around.

“We have a crisis in Coronationville and nobody seems to have any answers. We are going to die without water. When water is in the taps though, you can’t drink it. It is dirty and has bits of, I don’t know what, so we must boil it first but can only do that when there is electricity which is also a challenge with load-shedding.”

A representative from Johannesburg Water addresses residents in the Corronationville community hall. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain
A representative from Johannesburg Water addresses residents in the Corronationville community hall. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Talking from the stage an hour late, and a day later than originally planned, Gwamanda spoke behind a table with a cloth over it with the words ‘World Class African City’ and disco lights flashing as he tried to appease the community who had a mixed reaction to his visit.

Only Ward 58 councillor Ricky Nair was present with community members bristling with frustration that other councillors ‘had better things to do’ than deal with the water crisis.

Community members are given an opportunity to address the mayor about service delivery concerns. Photo; Emily Wellman Bain
Community members are given an opportunity to address the mayor about service delivery concerns. Photo; Emily Wellman Bain

“This accelerated service delivery programme is being carried out in all seven regions with no special preference to any region to correcting the service delivery backlog and fixing our infrastructure which is in a dire state,” said Gwamanda.

The community had an opportunity to raise concerns and listed water, electricity, densification, no Coloured community access to jobs, poor state of the roads, a lack of facilities for children to play in and foreigners as their primary frustrations.

Residents packed the community hall in Corronationville to hear the mayor speak. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain
Residents packed the community hall in Corronationville to hear the mayor speak. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

“Informal settlements and densification are problems that are straining our infrastructure. Raising this with me is bringing it to the highest level of escalation and I commit to doing everything I can within the constraints of my position to bring plans that address these challenges.”

Johannesburg Water was not given an opportunity to share a presentation as community members shouted broadly, ‘we are not technical and don’t want fancy shows here; we just want answers to when we will get water’.

Residents packed the community hall in Corronationville to hear the mayor speak. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain
Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

The utility did manage to say, “We are building reservoirs and towers in Brixton to ensure we have enough capacity to supply the area which should be complete in 24 months. This is a long-term solution though. The solution for now is not clear. We know we do not have the capacity to supply water to you, but we do hope water-shifting alleviates some of the problems you are experiencing.”

Water-shifting is when water is diverted from one system that has sufficient supply to one that has a deficit.

Dolores Williams. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain
Dolores Williams. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Some residents muttered that this was purely a political ‘lip-service’ event as no concrete solutions to bring relief soon were brought to the community.

Ward 58 councillor Ricky Nair and Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain
Ward 58 councillor Ricky Nair and Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

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