A demonstration by Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip to show residents how the Motherwell groundwater point could be used was almost put on hold yesterday as a pipe coupling had been disconnected.
“Unfortunately, somebody arrived here before [yesterday] and took off a part of the coupling so that our objective of showing you where there is free water available could not take place at the right time,” Trollip said.
“That was an act of deliberate intervention, call it sabotage if you like,” he said.
The coupling was eventually replaced and the demonstration took place.
Trollip said that for the last four weekends certain parts of the city had been without water, linking it to the overtime issue.
“There’s an issue with people not wanting to work overtime.
“People who qualify for overtime need to get their overtime as per the legislation,” he said.
Trollip called the removal of the coupling sabotage.
“People who don’t qualify, who have been qualifying in the past – it’s a simple thing, if you don’t qualify you don’t qualify,” he said.
The standoff over overtime started on October 1, when the new policy came into effect.
Speaking at the same event, infrastructure, engineering and electricity political head Annette Lovemore said the Motherwell groundwater point was part of a plan to access every possible water source.
“Currently, we get most of our water from the dams and now we are going to groundwater,” she said.
“This particular water source will ultimately yield 20ML a day.”
Lovemore said the water – which is not drinkable but can be used for laundry and gardening – was free and residents could fill tanks.
Municipal planning and research director Laure Pieterse said the local authority had performed numerous groundwater investigation studies inside and outside the city’s boundaries to determine the best possible sites for extraction.
“The maximum potential was identified from the Coega aquifer. It was immediately targeted as a raw water provision for the metro,” Pieterse said.
The Coega aquifer, situated inside the Motherwell Cemetery, is located at the foot of Coega Kop and includes the flow from the Uitenhage Springs.