A malfunctioning water pipe at Mzonyana Water Treatment Works left large parts of Mdantsane NU1 without water twice this week, spurring Buffalo City Metro workers to launch a major repair operation.
Households and government institutions offering crucial services were affected by the outages.
The Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court, the NU1 police station and more than 10 schools experienced water interruptions this week.
On Wednesday, the magistrate’s courts were forced to roll over all court hearings to yesterday after taps and cisterns ran dry at lunchtime.
Justice Department national spokesman Stephen Mahlangu said yesterday water supply was restored at 6pm on Tuesday but then the pipe experienced another pressure burst.
“The BCM pipes are old. So what happens, they fix one crack in the pipe and when they open the water, the pressure breaks another crack and then we end up where we started from,” he said.
Mdantsane police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku confirmed that the police station, which has a responsibility to keep prisoners hydrated in their holding cells, felt the interruptions.
Yesterday afternoon, he said: “The situation is back to normal now. We are having water and we are continuing with our normal services.
“We would like to urge the members of the public to come and access our services.”
BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said: “What was supposed to be a routine maintenance matter ended up being a serious inconvenience for the courts and surrounding businesses and residents in NU1.
“We apologise sincerely and we take full responsibility.
“A pipe burst resulted in the interruption of the water supply on Wednesday. Our teams immediately got to work and did so around the clock, and eventually managed to restore the water supply in the evening.
“Unfortunately, upon restoration, the pressure on the pipe was in full force, and this resulted in another water interruption. Our teams worked around the clock and managed to restore the water by lunchtime.”
The Dispatch visited five schools affected by the water cuts in NU1.
Mzimkhulu Primary School principal Ntsikelelo Ruiter said 324 pupils went hungry on Tuesday because no cooking was able to take place.
The school is one of a number of government schools which rely on the school nutrition programme.
“We would like to urge anyone to donate a water tank to us so that kids can eat when BCM fails to give us water,” he said.
At Vulumzi Junior Primary, principal Nomsa Makwenkwe said the teachers released their 477 pupils aged five to 12 at midday, two hours earlier than normal.
“We also now flush the toilets manually using buckets and our caretaker has to unblock toilets daily.”
The school has had water issues for four months, she said. — firstname.lastname@example.org