Gauteng residents are urged to store water ahead of Rand Water’s planned maintenance

Gauteng residents are urged to stock up on water ahead of planned maintenance by Rand Water at the Vereeniging plant from Tuesday to Thursday next week.

While this maintenance is needed, it must be done pro-actively, not only when a problem occurs.

Neighbouring Johannesburg municipalities may also be affected.

The following areas will be affected by the maintenance:

• Roodepoort
• Randburg
• Parts of Johannesburg Central
• Ennerdale
• Southdale
• Soweto

Furthermore, residents also need to be aware that while water may be restored on time, it will take time for the reservoirs to fill up and supply the high-lying areas with water.

Residents need to ensure that they have enough water for the duration of the outage so that they can flush toilets, wash their hands, and bath.

The recovery of reservoirs to full capacity can take up to 14 days.Residents must be mindful of usage as the higher lying areas will be negatively affected.

In addition, dips in electricity can also cause problems with the supply of water, leaving residents without water for longer than initially anticipated.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) reiterates its call on Rand Water and Joburg Water to do proactive maintenance and not wait for problems to occur.

If Rand Water does not get its act together, it will become another Eskom.

We will continue to put pressure on Premier Panyaza Lesufi and the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mzi Khumalo, to establish an inter-governmental task force to deal with the current water and electricity crises.

DA to conduct oversight inspection at Provincial Disaster Management Centre in Midrand

On Monday, 10 July 2023, the Official Leader of the Opposition in Gauteng, Solly Msimanga MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nico De Jager MPL and Cllr Annette Deppe will be conducting an oversight inspection of the Gauteng Provincial Disaster Management Centre in Midrand.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre is mainly responsible for coordinating disaster events and is the primary unit for disaster management in the province, providing support to the National Disaster Management Centre, Metropolitan and District Disaster Management Centres.

The Provincial Disaster Management Centre has been allocated R42 606 000 for the 2023/2024 financial year. The DA will assess the Provincial Disaster Management Centre’s readiness should there be a total collapse of the electricity grid and any other major disasters.

Furthermore, we will also be determining what level of support this facility provides to municipalities, especially during seasons when there is a high risk of flooding and fires.

The media is invited, and there will be an opportunity for interviews and photographs.

Details of the oversight visit are as follows:

Date: 10 July 2023
Time: 10:00am
Address: 11 Janadel Avenue, Riverview Office Park, Block B, Halfway House, Midrand

Rand Water fails to secure a backup electricity supply leaving many Johannesburg residents without water

Rand Water is once again failing our residents in Gauteng. Large parts of Johannesburg have been left without water for up to a week. The latest round of outages and the failure at the Orlando substation is evidence that Rand Water is failing to ensure an interrupted water supply. The problem is twofold, Rand Water not maintaining its electrical infrastructure and secondly, the need to replace old asbestos pipes that is beyond their useful lifespan.

Earlier this year, Rand Water indicated that they would have their own generators at pumping stations like Eikenhof by June. To date, there are no generators. Rand Water has gone silent on the matter. It is common knowledge that there are problems with electricity and that load-shedding is not going to go away. We cannot only blame Eskom when Rand Water does not maintain its electrical infrastructure.

It is the responsibility of Rand Water to deliver water to our residents. Where City Power fails to deliver electricity, it is then the responsibility of Rand Water to make sure that they have the capacity to produce electricity themselves through a generator.

In this case, we cannot blame Eskom when Rand Water’s infrastructure is failing. Residents are now going for weeks without water, and this is unacceptable. Our councillors are inundated with calls because our residents are frustrated.

Pipe bursts will become common if the old asbestos pipes are not replaced. There is a medium-term solution to this, where the outflow to the reticulation system is reduced as part of Pressure Demand Management (PDM) and outflow during off-peak times. This would be between 10 pm and 5 am. If this flow is restricted, the pressure inside the pipes will become less.

The DA will continue to push for part of the R28 billion investment for water infrastructure in the province to be used to for the replacement and upgrade of critical water infrastructure in municipalities.

DA welcomes new five-day load-shedding that will give Johannesburg residents some reprieve from power cuts

Stage six and even higher stages are set to be the new norm during the winter months. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the newly proposed five-day load-shedding cycle to replace the current 24-hour cycle. This plan was introduced by the DA Mayor Mpho Phalatse in January 2023 after consultation with ward councillors.

Former Mayor Phalatse and former Member of Mayoral Committee (MMC) Michael Sun first announced the plan in January and had this administration not dragged its feet, jobs could have been saved. In addition, residents would have had some reprieve from the impact of load-shedding had this plan been implemented.

This five-day schedule will give residents at least two load-shed free days in a five-day cycle up to stage three. If this can be successfully implemented, the DA will call for the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to duplicate the plan across the province.

City Power also announced a plan they have been working on since 2022 with former MMC Sun to use smart meters to allow residents access to some electricity during load-shedding. This plan will send a signal to smart meters in an area to reduce the load for a certain period that a house can receive from the grid.

The homeowners will then be responsible for switching off geysers, pumps, ovens and other appliances that use a lot of power while lights, fridges, TV and Wi-Fi can still operate.

For the plan to be successfully implemented, City Power must upgrade an additional 16000 conventional meters urgently.

The DA supports this plan by City Power; however, we are disappointed that Eskom and the ANC-led coalition in Johannesburg have delayed its implementation.

The DA in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) has long since called on COGTA to create a provincial infrastructure masterplan, and we hope that this newly proposed plan can be duplicated across the province to ease the impact of load-shedding going forward.

Digitising public service using the innovative cloud will help to accelerate service delivery    

by Nico de Jager MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson for e-Government     

Digital transformation has been a critical focus for governments around the world, as they seek to improve the delivery of public services to citizens and businesses. One key aspect of this transformation is moving away from traditional data centres and towards cloud-based solutions.    

Cloud computing offers many benefits for public sector organisations, including increased scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. By leveraging cloud services, government agencies can rapidly deploy new applications and services and easily scale them up or down as needed. This allows them to respond quickly to changing demands and improve service delivery.    

In addition, cloud-based solutions allow for more collaboration and sharing of resources across different spheres of government. This can help to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public services, as well as reduce costs by avoiding duplication of effort.    

An area where digitisation can successfully be used is in the education sector, especially as far as accessibility is concerned. This is because cloud storage can be used from anywhere and is dependent only on internet access.    

Many schools in Gauteng lack basic facilities such as adequate classrooms, libraries, and laboratory equipment, which can negatively impact the learning environment and learners’ performance.     

Another major challenge facing Gauteng schools is a shortage of qualified teachers. There are a significant number of vacant teaching positions in the province, and many schools are forced to rely on unqualified teachers or temporary staff. This can lead to a lack of consistency and continuity in the classroom and can negatively impact delivering quality education.    

As a result, poor academic performance remains a challenge facing those schools that do not have access to adequate infrastructure and resources. Despite efforts to improve education in the province, many schools continue to struggle with low pass rates and high dropout rates. Gauteng schools are also faced with a lack of technology and digital resources in the classroom, limited access to the internet and devices and poor digital literacy among the teachers and students.   

Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to the education system with remote learning and online classes. As a result, the digital divide between learners who have access to digital resources and the internet and those who do not have access to these resources has increased. Moreover, it has also highlighted the need for teachers to be provided with digital training.    

Tackling Gauteng’s public service challenges will require a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying socio-economic factors and provides schools with the necessary support and resources.    

Digitisation and innovation can be used to improve the administration and management of schools. For example, by using data analytics and automation, schools can improve their efficiency and make better decisions. Schools can also use digital tools to enhance communication and collaboration between teachers, parents, and other stakeholders.    

To successfully implement digitisation and innovation in Gauteng schools, it is important to have a clear strategy and plan in place, as well as provide the necessary training and support for teachers, staff and learners to use the technology effectively. It is also important to involve stakeholders, including learners, teachers, and parents, in the planning and implementation process to ensure that the technology being used meets the needs and expectations of all parties involved.    

Overall, digitisation and innovation can be used in Gauteng schools to enhance the learning experience, improve learners’ performance, and streamline the administration and management of schools. With the right approach, it is possible to create a more engaging, interactive, and personalised learning environment for learners.    

In addition, cloud-based solutions can enable citizens to access services online, at any time, from any location. This can help to improve access to services for those who are geographically isolated or have mobility issues.    

Cloud-based solutions can also enable governments to better understand and respond to the needs of citizens and businesses. By leveraging data and analytics, government agencies can gain insights into patterns and trends in service usage and use this information to improve the delivery of services.    

However, the adoption of cloud-based solutions in the public sector is not without its challenges. One key issue is the need to ensure the security and privacy of citizens’ personal data. The government must ensure that data is properly protected, both in transit and at rest, and that appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorised access or breaches.    

Another challenge is the need to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. The government must ensure that its use of cloud-based solutions complies with laws and regulations related to data privacy, security and other areas.    

Eskom snubs their noses at residents left without power for 48 hours

Residents in Bryanston, Benmore, Riverclub, Parkmore, Morningside and Moodie Hill have only had six hours of power since the start of the week.

After load-shedding on Monday, the electricity was not switched back on.

City Power was unable to find the fault and contacted Eskom to resolve the issue.

The DA tried to engage directly with Eskom and City Power on this matter to no avail.

Eventually, power was restored only for it to trip again this morning. Residents have now been left without power for 48 hours. City Power is trying to keep residents updated; however, Eskom is unacceptably not providing communication on the issue.

The lack of infrastructure maintenance and the lack of a coordinated approach from Eskom is frustrating our residents.

No electricity also means supply of water and the sewage system is impacted negatively.
Furthermore, instead of giving these areas a reprieve from loadshedding, residents will be without power for at least 10 hours today.

The prolonged outages are also costing our residents money as the food they have purchased will perish.
Eskom must urgently get its house in order and improve its stakeholder relations.

Residents must be kept informed on what is happening when the power trips after load-shedding and how long it will take to restore power.

Yeoville, Hillbrow residents without water for two days due to ailing infrastructure

Over the last couple of days, Yeoville and Hillbrow residents have been left without water. This outage is due to two pumps not being operational at the Yeoville reservoir resulting in 34 streets not having water.

One of the two pumps has been repaired. Joburg Water has applied for an emergency procurement process to buy these two pumps. This is a capital investment which must go through a procurement process if it is not on the Capex budget for the year.

The finalisation of this process will take a couple of days. In addition, Joburg Water has also applied for a full value chain procurement. This means that it is not only for the buying of the pumps but also for the installation and commissioning of the pumps.

There are roving tankers going around but lately, we have seen videos of residents trying to get water from potholes or burst pipes.

In the meantime, residents are suffering mainly because of a lack of maintenance on the electrical infrastructure.

It is high time that the politicians approving the budget take responsibility for the current situation.

Infrastructure like water and electricity cannot be left to decay. Government must take responsibility for the R24 billion backlog on water infrastructure maintenance.

The DA is once again calling on the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu to assist municipalities that cannot carry the load of the socio-economic impact of state failure.

Gauteng residents suffer without water and electricity due to crumbling infrastructure

The Gauteng government is not doing enough to advise municipalities on maintenance leaving critical municipal, Eskom and Rand Water infrastructure to crumble.

For the past 30 years, the ANC-led government has allowed critical infrastructure to go to ruins and therefore unable to provide quality services.

The ongoing loadshedding that is being experienced across the country is having a negative impact on substations, water reservoirs and pumping stations.

Over the last two weeks, we have seen the collapse of pylons in Tshwane which has left residents in the North Eastern part of the city without electricity for days on end.

This is because Eskom has failed to do proactive as well as scheduled maintenance on its infrastructure.

If this was done, Eskom will be able to pick up on vandalism that takes place at their infrastructure.

The Eikenhof pumping station flooded leaving residents in the South of Johannesburg without water.

In the most recent incident, residents in Bryanston have been left without water for more than four days.

Water cannot be restored until Joburg Water procures the materials to repair the pipeline because they have none in the store.

A DA government will take pride in assisting municipalities from a national and provincial level by advising local governments on how to spend especially where we see that they are not spending sufficient money on service delivery.

With the current budget presented by the coalition of corruption in Johannesburg, we can see that it is very focused on electioneering in the strongholds of the parties rather than a focus on investing in maintaining the current infrastructure.

We are once again calling on the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu to make part of the R28 billion which will be invested in Rand Water’s infrastructure available to municipalities to upgrade their infrastructure.

We also reiterate our call for an intergovernmental task team to be set up to address the water and electricity crisis. If this is not done, then the current situation will negatively impact investment opportunities and job creation.

An error by Joburg Water leaves large parts of Eastern Johannesburg without water

Large parts of Eastern Johannesburg have once again been left without any water. This followed a mistake by Joburg Water technicians after cleaning a reservoir.

One of three reservoirs at the Yeoville reservoir set-up was recently cleaned. To do the cleaning, they have to drain the reservoir and stop water from flowing from one reservoir to the other. The reservoirs needed to be closed so that no water could flow in or out. Once the cleaning was done, the reservoir was reopened for water to flow in but not for water to flow out.

This meant that overnight there was no water flowing out of the reservoir while the reservoir was filling up. During this process, the reservoir started overflowing, and millions of litres of clean drinking water was flowing over the walls of the reservoir and into the streets.

See video here and here

This could easily have been prevented with a first-line response team that works overnight. When a problem like this occurs, a team must be immediately available to fix the problem by opening all required valves This did not happen.

Joburg Water must ensure that they get the necessary budget so that there is a first-line of response team available at all times across all regions in Johannesburg that can quickly react to any emergency that may arise.

Through the mechanism in place at the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, we will continue to apply pressure on the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, to ensure part of the R28 billion earmarked for the 12 reservoirs is used to maintain and upgrade the water infrastructure of municipalities.


#NationalWaterWeek: Gauteng residents have nothing to celebrate as taps run dry

The years of neglect of our water infrastructure across Gauteng, with a lack of proactive maintenance, and regular upgrades of existing infrastructure, coupled with poor communication from Rand Water, have left residents without water for days on end.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is deeply concerned about this unacceptable behaviour from Rand Water. This entity continuously blames vandalism for its woes when it is its job to secure the infrastructure.

The blame is shifted to municipalities when they should also be maintaining their own infrastructure. Furthermore, Rand Water continuously talks about municipalities exceeding their daily quota while doing minimal campaigning to conserve water and protect water sources.

The world celebrated World Water Day on 22 March 2023, and South Africa continues to celebrate National Water Week from 20-26 March to raise awareness about the global water crisis and the need to manage water resources sustainably. In reality, Gauteng residents had nothing to celebrate as areas of Lesedi Local Municipality, such as Heidelberg, are still battling without water after more than a week. Schools and residents must buy water for drinking and cleaning as the taps are dry.

Every time the Vereeniging plant experiences an infrastructure failure, the Rand Water Eikenhof reservoir system fails to supply water to large parts of Randburg, Roodepoort, Hursthill, Crosby and the Commando system that feeds water to Johannesburg South.

To add insult to injury, Joburg Water has again left large parts of the East and Northeast of Johannesburg without water. As much as we appreciate maintenance work, the timing of the maintenance after two weeks of intermittent water supply and lack of roaming water tankers is leaving residents highly frustrated.

Areas of Benoni in Ekurhuleni also suffered from water outages over the long weekend. As much as water entities would like to blame the system’s failures on loadshedding, neglect and the lack of electrical infrastructure maintenance and upgrades have led to the current dire situation.

World Water Day is about celebrating access to water, about the conservation of water resources. The Minister for Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, announced a R28 billion investment into 12 more Rand Water reservoirs while calling on municipalities to use less. However, as much as any capital investment must be welcomed, the DA insists that the Minister adopt a cooperative approach to assist municipalities with the maintenance upgrades where the municipalities cannot do it independently.

The DA has launched an online petition demanding that Rand Water act decisively and supply water. Sign our petition here