After ten days of no water, business owners at the Friendly Stores building in Heideveld are happy to have water supply after vandalism damaged the building’s water pipes.
Raeesah Adams, who runs her hair salon from the Friendly Stores building on the corner of Heideveld and Ascension roads in Heideveld, said when she arrived at work on Tuesday September 28 there was no water when she turned on the taps. She said over that weekend there were digger loaders on the field behind the centre in Heideveld Road who she assumed damaged a water pipe. She then noticed water flowing out of the pipes, creating small dams on the field.
Ms Adams said the City sent a team to assess the issue on Saturday September 30 after she logged another complaint with the City’s call centre but there was still no water running out of the taps.
City teams also came out on Monday October 4 and Thursday October 7 for a water meter reading but there was still no water to the shop downstairs, the dentist, the hairdresser and toilets upstairs, said Ms Adams. There is, however, water supply to the rest of the building.
Ms Adams said by Thursday October 7 she had lost 10 business days as her business operates with water because she needs to wash her clients’ hair.
On Wednesday October 6, when the Athlone News visited the site, water could be seen flowing out of the pipe resulting in little dams being formed. There was a stench coming from the field and big flies could be seen around the water.
Ms Adams said she had cancelled 10 client’s appointments.
“Who is going to compensate us for this? We are losing business. I can’t tell my clients to bring their own water. The digger loaders did this and they need to sort this out. I need water to run my business. What are my customers thinking? I am unprofessional? Our toilets have no water. The water is not in arrears, it’s making small dams everywhere. Flies and mosquitoes come in when we open the windows, this is unhealthy, ” she said.
Hope for the Future feeding scheme staff member Mandene Adams, said the feeding scheme needs water to operate. She said it is unhygienic not to have clean flowing water when you are working with food.
“We need water to operate. Our residents are used to being fed at a certain time. It is very frustrating when our routine gets thrown out like that we had to rush t get the food done in time because the water only went on later that day,” she said.
Shop owner Iqraam Hoq, said he was unable to use the bathroom or take wudu (the Islamic procedure for cleansing parts of the body, a type of ritual purification, or ablution) to perform his prayers. He had to use his friend’s bathroom down the road.
“I am a Muslim and I need water to take wudu to pray five times a day. I don’t even need much water because I don’t waste water but I need to have clean flowing water,” he said.
Chairman of the body corporate of the Heideveld Town Centre CC, Dr Abdul-Aziz Adams, said after numerous calls to the City’s call centre and numerous reference numbers, the City informed him that he had to repair the damaged water pipes himself only 10 days later as it was private property. He said he believes that the digger loaders came too close to the building and damaged the pipes underground.
He said it was not the body corporate’s responsibility to fix the issue because the City had damaged the water pipes. Mr Adams said it was unfair that tenants and their businesses had to suffer because of the City. He did, however, hire a private plumber and by Friday October 8 the water to the building was restored.
“If this was in a leafier suburb it would’ve been sorted a long time ago. This is completely unfair. It is such a disgrace that hundreds of litres of water is running away and no one cares. Who will be billed for all that water going to waste? Me?” he asked.
Heideveld ward councillor Anthony Moses said the owner of the building needs to fence off his building because it has been vandalised on numerous occasions. He said there is no proof that City digger loaders were on site as tenants claim.
“The building is in a very bad state, tenants complained a lot about the building and the amount of rent that they are paying. There is no real light inside of the building, I’m not sure if it is fire compliant or the building has had a health inspection but I will send City teams out to inspect that so that the tenants can at least get their money’s worth,” he said.
The City’s Mayco member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg, said its solid waste department confirmed that they did not carry out digger loader work on that site and if such vehicles were on the property they do not belong to the City.
She said the City’s water and sanitation operational team visited the property where the owner reported to the team that the pipes had been stolen. She further said the water to the property was shut off due to it running to waste.
“The owner needs to attend to the necessary repairs/replacement of the damaged and stolen pipes. This is private property and any loss of income should be settled with the owner of the said property. The water will be switched on as soon as the owner has made the necessary repairs,” said Ms Limberg.