Families still without water as second pipe bursts in Cape Town township

Residents of New Beginning have to beg for water from neighbouring Bardale

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New Beginning residents who have been without running water for a week have resorted to fetching water from neighbours in wheelie bins. Photo: Vincent Lali

Plumbers battled on Wednesday afternoon to fix a new break in a water pipe after an earlier one left families in New Beginning, Cape Town, without water for a week.

The team sent by the City of Cape Town had just fixed the earlier leak, said Councillor Zahied Badroodien, when a new water pipe burst.

When GroundUp visited the new township on Tuesday, residents were carrying buckets and pushing trolleys and wheelie bins to collect water in nearby Bardale.

Minnie Koopman’s house in New Beginning smelled of human waste. “I have no water to flush my toilet,” she said. Koopman lives with nine family members. She has been hiring youngsters for R10 to bring her water with trolleys from Bardale since last week.

“I have spent about R160 hiring youths to bring me water and on buying water from Bardale residents,” said Koopman. “Bardale residents first gave me water free, then started to shout at me before giving me water, and finally they made me pay.”

Some Bardale residents charge R20 for 20 litres of water, said Koopman. She said they were getting fed-up with the families from New Beginning who beg them for water every day.

“Some residents have removed water taps attached to their outside toilets to deter us from going to their places to ask for water.”

Koopman said the City of Cape Town last sent a water truck on Sunday.

“I only collected two 25 litre containers from the truck. When I returned for more water, it was no longer there as the water had run out. People were still standing in line for water,” she said.

Community leader Nkumbuzo Gqolotile said children had not gone to school today and residents had not been able to wash clothes. “People who are physically disabled can’t go and collect water. They must use their disability grants to hire youngsters to bring them water with trolleys,” he said.

Gqotile said some workers return to work at night and battle to find water to cook and drink because Bardale residents have closed their gates.

“We want the City to send us three water trucks every day until the water supply is restored. The trucks must be placed in different areas because New Beginning is big,” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon a team was still trying to connect the water supply. Photo: Vincent Lali

Phozisa Ntoyise, who operates a hair salon, was caught unprepared by the water supply cut-off. She had to close her salon early.

Badroodien apologised on Wednesday for the additional delay “as well as immense inconvenience to residents especially our elderly and children. Everything is being done to restore the water as quickly as possible.”

TOPICS:  Sanitation Water

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