Water reconnected at Mitchell’s Village home

Resident Joseph Petersen in his kitchen with a plastic container used to keep water.

A Mitchell’s Village resident has accused the City of disconnecting his family’s water supply for two weeks, but the City denies this, saying the family’s residence is fitted with a water management device which limited their water use.

Joseph Petersen said their water was disconnected from Monday January 30 to Tuesday February 14, forcing them to borrow water from their neighbours.

He also accused the City of replacing his water meter after his water bill increased.

“In January, our water account was R1 000. My mother Sophia, then made a payment of R500 on January 27. Bearing in mind that our water bill has never been this high. The next thing we know, the water was disconnected on January 30,” he said.

Mr Petersen said they needed water to bath, drink and to cook and that despite calls to the City, they battled to have their water reconnected.

“It was frustrating because we couldn’t clean ourselves properly and even use the toilet because we had to use the water we received from residents wisely,” he said.

Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for area south, said on assessment, the City of Cape Town found that the water had not been disconnected – the family had used up their daily allocation of water.

He explained that the property was fitted with a water management device which allocated 350 kilo litres of water a day. When this was exceeded, the device shut off to a trickle supply.

“An increase in this allocation may be considered. If the customer would like to apply, this may be done at the nearest municipal office,” he said.

Mr Andrews said on January 28 a new water meter was installed at the property. “On inspection, our technician confirms that the stop cock is on, the water allocation reflects 350 litres with over 2 000 litres available for use,” he said.

Mr Petersen, however, is adament the water had been disconnected, and only after the media enquiry did the City sent someone out to the house. When the Plainsman visited the family on Friday February 10, there was no water in their taps.

When questioned about the water account increase, Mr Andrews said Mr Petersen had been billed according to the consumption that had been registered through the meter. He added that the meter was replaced because indigent application had been received.

Johan van der Merwe, the City’s mayoral committee member for finance, said the indigent policy offered households an opportunity to improve their situation by managing their water consumption within acceptable levels.

He said the City introduced a relief programme for indigent consumers whereby the consumer consented to having a water management device (WMD) installed free of charge; all their household water leaks fixed free of charge; and to have their water and sewerage arrears caused by water leaks written off as bad debt.