Water crisis: Community takes hands

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Bloemfontein residents can eventually calm down after Executive Mayor, Councillor Olly Mlamleli, confirmed water supply to be back to normal in all affected areas by yesterday afternoon.
In a statement to Bloemfontein Courant, she said: “I am aware that in some of our townships there is still a problem of water supply. The following areas are still affected: Namibia, Bloemside, Freedom Square, Grasland, Ipopeng, Phase 6 and 10 and Phola Park. I would like to assure you that I have activated my team to deploy water tankers/JoJos while we are still filling the reservoirs.”
The main water pipeline supplying Mangaung with water first burst on Thursday 16 November. It was predicted that it would take 36 hours to restore the pipeline. After being repaired, the pipe burst again on Saturday 18 November, followed by another burst on 20 November.
Qondile Khedama, Mangaung Metro Municipality spokesperson, said on Monday afternoon that they had dispatched their team and they were working in over-drive to ensure that work would be completed in time. The repair work was expected to take 24 hours.
In another statement released by the Mangaung Metro Municipality on Tuesday 20 November, it was confirmed that the municipality was working tirelessly to overcome the unforeseen crisis. “Our team has been working overnight and has been able to extract the damaged concrete pipe. Workers are currently busy with the installation of the new steel pipe.
We have also picked up a number of new areas in both the northern and southern parts of the city that are affected and we are working tirelessly to cover those areas with JoJos. The municipality’s call centre is on standby for any enquiries during the interruption and is ready to assist affected areas with JoJo tanks or water tankers,” Khedama said.
Mlamleli wants to thank residents and business people of Mangaung for their resilience and patience during this interruption. “It is this type of relationship that is going to assist in taking this municipality to another level and I humbly appreciate the co-operation the city has received.”
Despite the water crisis the community stood together and showed goodwill to fellow citizens during this ordeal.
One business fully embraced the term “turning negatives into positives” as it opened its doors to members of the public who were dying for a hot shower – on condition that they either brought toys and/or clothing for needy children in exchange for a shower.
General manager of Haldon Estate Guesthouse, Marelize Lessing, said: “I looked around and I saw negativity everywhere and thought to myself, ‘How can we change this and use this situation to help others around us’?”. Following this, she had a brainwave to use the advantage of having a borehole at the guesthouse to obtain gifts for underprivileged children ahead of the guesthouse’s Christmas party, which will be held next month. “And just like that, we decided to make our shower facilities available to anyone who would show up on our doorstep with a gift for a child,” a bubbly Lessing said. People came as families, making use of the 12 rooms of the guesthouse. “Our staff also put in a bit of effort in cleaning up after our guests and they were working overtime, leaving a little later than usual to make sure that the rooms were clean for the next people who would use them,” she said.
On Tuesday afternoon alone, 48 people took up the offer, which not only meant that 48 people were able to remain fresh in a perilous time but also that 48 little children will have a gift for Christmas.
She was excited with all the food, clothing and toys she had received, but still has to confirm further details on the Christmas party. She thanked members of the Bloemfontein community for their help and support.

Pulane Choane & Jeretha Oosthuizen 
pulane@centralmediagroup.co.za
jeretha@mahareng.co.za