J’Bay turns to Zuma for help in dirty water saga

Cindy Liebenberg
JEFFREYS BAY residents are so fed-up with the quality of the water that they have now taken their plight to President Jacob Zuma, hoping he will at least attempt to bring the Kouga Municipality to book.
Magda Pietersen is one of many unhappy residents who have become so despondent with the quality of the water that she has now sent an e-mail to the president, this after she tried calling his helpline and was given his e-mail address.
Although the receipt of her e-mail has been acknowledged she is still awaiting a response from the president’s office.
Since January last year, Our Times has repeatedly reported on the water situation, particularly in Dogwood and Leadwood Streets in Wavecrest.
Residents have suffered huge financial losses caused by muddy water which leaves residue the size of gravel, and is often accompanied by a vile smell.
“This water is not fit for human consumption,” says Pietersen of Dogwood Street.
“Look at my washing,” she said displaying a cream coloured blotchy table cloth that used to be white.
Apart from Pietersen, Our Times has received countless complaints from residents. Ronnie Kruger was so disgusted by the damage the water was causing to his bath, he sent a picture to the daily newspapers.
Ludwig Voster brought in a bucketful of the day’s takings to Our Times office. “This is a particular bad lot. It is much worse on some days,” he says. He has had a filter installed into his inlet pipes and claims he has to replace it far more than what is normal, according to his service provider.
“As soon as I can determine where I can have the water tested I will do so. It is absolutely unacceptable that we have to put up with a basic human right that looks and smells like this!”
For the past seven months Pietersen tried in vain to secure a meeting with the acting municipal manager, Sydni Fadie.
She has been in contact with various other high officials and eventually, on January 3 this year, was given the assurance that the problem would be attended to. However, to date nothing has been done and she has had absolutely no feedback from anyone.
“I manage a clubhouse and have to wash up to 30 white tablecloths at a time. I cannot even remember how many times I have had to replace the tablecloths from my own pocket,” she says.
She says a friend who lives further down the road runs a guesthouse and has also suffered similar losses.
Municipal spokesman Laura Leigh Randall claims the water is perfect for human consumption and that the colour and smell is due to the water coming from boreholes, and this makes it is rich in iron.

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