Residents of Zakariyya Park in Johannesburg took to the streets on Monday to protest persistent water problems in the area which they say have been dealing with for 10 years.
Traffic along the Golden Highway in Lenasia south has been diverted to the R55 following protests in Zakariyya Park.
ALERT::☡Please be advised that Golden highway @ Zakariya Park roads have been blocked off due to a protest. Motorist are advised to avoid the area and use alternative routes pic.twitter.com/APbGdu5XdU
— AsktheChiefJMPD (@AsktheChiefJMPD) April 30, 2018
Residents are protesting the lack of water for the past three days.
Johannesburg Metro police department (JPMD) spokesperson Wayne Minnaar told EWN residents blocked the highway with burning tyres, rocks and tree branches.
Chairperson of the Zakariyya Park Civic Association, Anver Arabie, told the Mail & Guardian the community finds itself without water every week without fail. He said last year the water was turned off for 17 days.
Arabie said almost every second day, the water is turned off between 9pm to 7am or 10am the next day. This issue is compounded over long weekends as officials are unreachable, he said.
“We as a community are tired,” Arabie said.
Arabie said that community members have been given little clarity as to why they find themselves without water so often.
“On the one hand, we are told that the reservoirs are empty and then we’re told that the power to the reservoirs has been cut. And then we find out that the water might be being stolen,” he said.
Arabie said that, contrary to reports, the community’s protest along the Golden Highway was peaceful.
Protestors moving on to block golden highway at Zakariyya Park entrance, they have called on community at Vlakfontein to block of the golden highway at Lenasia South as well
Vid received 10:57am 30/04/2018 pic.twitter.com/zFPSmrgqeQ
— CCI Network (@cci_network) April 30, 2018
The Zakariyya Park Civic Association, Arabie said, has undergone numerous frustrating efforts to engage with city councillors and Johannesburg Water to rectify the community’s water issues.
Eleanor Mavimbela, a spokesperson for Johannesburg Water, told the M&G there is high demand in the area and the reservoir which supplies water to Zakariyya Park does not have the storage capacity to cope with the demand.
Mavimbela explained when the water in the reservoir runs low, water supply has to be shut off because the reservoir cannot be allowed run dry.
“It is correct that this is not the first time that this has happened in the area,” Mavimbela said “But in these cases the communities are provided alternative water supplies.”
Please note that there is a high water demand from the High Level reservoir as a result the storage capacity cannot cope with the demand.The following areas will be affected as a results of this challenge Lenasia South, Zakariyya Park, Lehay, Vlakfontein.^p
— Johannesburg Water (@JHBWater) April 30, 2018