Portland resident’s water runs dry


Portland resident Walter Jones has slammed the City of Cape Town for constant water cuts and providing him with less than 350 litres daily.

According to Mr Jones, his water meter is faulty and was replaced three times in November and December last year and three weeks ago.

Mr Jones claims that he only got 30 litres of water when he tried filling up two water containers on Wednesday January 20.

He said he is not receiving the 350 litres of water a day he is entitled to and most days the water is cut in the afternoon.

The City’s water management device is set to deliver an average of 350 litres a day for residents who are registered on the City’s indigency database.

He said: “I have been at the council chambers numerous times and have informed councillor Eddie Andrews about the water cuts. My ex-wife Fatima Samuels and family have been living in Portland in the same house for 30 years and her father Mr I Samuels passed away about 13 years ago, however, the house is still on his name.”

Mr Jones said for many years the water and rates accounts had been in arrears.

“I was working in Durban last year October, and then came back to try and sort the payments out, I paid a portion of the arrears. Then again last year we received more letters.

“I made arrangements, the agreement was that I pay something again for the water and rates. I made a payment of R4 000 for the water and R5 000 on the rates. But what frustrates me is that these meters are faulty,” he said.

Ms Samuels said she is sick and tired of the water problems and needs assistance.

“Yes, there has been a backlog of payments, and we have made arrangements, but yet we’re still getting threatening letters. We are too scared to use the water, because it will switch off at anytime.

“We have to bath, make food, drink water and do the washing, but we cannot even do all of it because after the bath sessions, then our water cuts out,” she said.

Eddie Andrews, Portland ward councillor and chairperson of Sub-council 12, said Mr Jones has requested assistance.

“Ms Samuels has visited my office and was informed that she has to visit the Master’s office to resolve the property ownership issue. Only one payment was made in October (R4 000) for both accounts. There is still arrears on the account and the resident has not entered into a payment arrangement confirming intention to settle arrears,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the meter has only been installed once.

“We have advised the family to resolve the ownership issue, secure necessary documentation from the executor and visit the nearest City cash office with all the supporting documentation to complete an indigent grant application,” he said.

He said it’s difficult to comment on the question posed about how Mr Jones could only get 30 litres of water on January 20 because they do not know what time Mr Jones accessed the water.

“The new water quota may have been available prior to your visit (Plainsman) and there could possibly be a leak on the property which may also contribute towards a reduction in water,” he said.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, said the City of Cape Town’s records show no instances of a water meter removal.

He said the two payments made were insufficient to cover the arrears at the time and the account is still in arrears.

“The meter was replaced on December 1 2015 from a conventional meter to a water management device. The meter is set on a specific allocation per day and the device will limit further use when the allocation has been exhausted,” said Mr Sonnenberg.