Water outages force Pietermaritzburg municipal offices to close

Several pipes burst in Msunduzi Municipality

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Msunduzi Water workers try to get a broken water pump working on Greyling Street. Photo: Joseph Bracken.

Municipal offices were forced to close early in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday after pipe bursts on Victoria Street and Greyling Street left a major part of the city centre without water.

The parts affected included the area from Chief Albert Luthuli Street to Peter Kerchoff Street, said Ntobeko Mkhize, Msunduzi Municipality communications manager. This area includes many businesses and several municipal offices.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the two bursts were fixed, but shortly afterwards, two more bursts occurred, one next to the original burst pipe on Greyling Street, and one on Langalibalele Street, which runs through the city centre. The two bursts have been isolated but there are still parts of the central business district currently without water, said Mkhize.

The first burst pipes were made from ageing asbestos cement and were replaced by new PVC piping, said Siya Dlamini, a charge hand from Msunduzi Water. The newly burst pipe on Greyling Street is made from cast iron and workers have had to wait for a welder to fix it.

Dlamini said the water pump was not working so they could not drain the spillage.

Neil Woolridge, owner of Neil Woolridge Motors, which is next to the pipe that burst on Victoria Street, said his 55 staff and his customers could not use the bathrooms. The municipal workers broke the fibre cables while repairing the pipe, leaving the business without internet or phone connection.

The sidewalk from a previous pipe burst in front of the other side of his business, on Chief Albert Luthuli Street, has still not been properly fixed, Woolridge said.

TOPICS:  Water

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