Palm Ridge taps run dry as community spends Human Rights Day without water
Palm Ridge taps run dry as community spends Human Rights Day without water – The community of Palm Ridge (Ward 103) in Ekurhuleni were without water from the 17th until the 23rd of March; a total of six days without water.
Ironically, during this period, the City of Ekurhuleni was hosting the 4th Pan-African Local Climate Solutions for Africa Congress themed “Water for Cities” and South Africans celebrated Human Rights’ Day (21 March), and the world celebrated World Water Day (22 March). Yet, the residents of Palm Ridge were denied the basic human right of access to water.
The residents made me aware of the dire situation immediately and I, together with the residents, notified the relevant officials and logged numerous calls to the Ekurhuleni Call Centre. Swift action was promised, and while engineers had been on the ground for hours, they could not diagnose the problem. The residents and I demanded an explanation with regards to the situation, but the story from the engineers and call centre staff kept changing each time. Explanations varied from vandalised pipes, issues with the valves, the reservoir having to be re-filled and insufficient water pressure.
While it is understandable that a certain amount of time was needed to identify and fix the problem, the community was left without any information, communication or updates. The metro officials and the ANC ward councillor also failed to communicate information about where and when the residents should fetch water from the water tankers. We demand that action be taken to hold the current ward councillor accountable for his lack of leadership and communication during this stressful time.
A ward councillor is elected by the people and is, therefore, responsible to the people to keep them informed, updated and act as a liaison between the community and the municipality. The community of Palm Ridge demands that if they are to do their part by reporting issues through the call centre and all other available avenues, it is only fair that the ward councillor does his part.
I ended up having to step in and I became the main source of communication between the metro and the residents and I provided critical information pertaining to the water tankers. I would like to urge the community of Palm Ridge to contact me directly should they have further enquiries.
Cllr Jordan Lotriet
DA PR Councillor in Ekurhuleni