Protests in Zakariyya Park as water crisis looms

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.

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.

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.”

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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