Upset over new water devices and levies

Zulfa October with the recently installed water management device outside her property.

Hout Bay residents believe new water management devices installed by the City of Cape Town are defective and wreaking havoc with their water supply.

They also say the City failed to notify them that the devices would be installed.

In October, the City started installing the devices at more than 55 000 households flouting water restrictions. They limit households to 350 litres of water a day. The system resets at the end of each
day, but water that is not used will roll over to the next 24-hour period.

However, several Hout Bay residents have complained that since the devices were installed, their water supply has been cut off for days on end.

“I didn’t even know the water meter had been changed. At the end of November, I noticed there was a new meter at the front of my house. Then there wasn’t any water for five days in a row,” said Harbour Heights resident Zulfa October.

“To add insult to injury, during this time I was calling the City morning, noon and night to try to
get someone from the City to tell me what was going on. Eventually they sent somebody out, but he told me he couldn’t find any problems with the water supply.”

She said that even though no one had notified her about the new device, she had learnt later that she would be billed R4 500 for it. According to the City, high water users are required to pay this

“This is ridiculous. We ratepayers are being asked to pay for this, but there are people living in bungalows and wendy houses in IY and Hangberg who aren’t paying a cent. The City says it works for us, but I don’t feel it works for us at all.”

Garth Abrahams, a builder by profession, has been looking
after a property in Albert Road, near Victoria Avenue, and has experienced similar prob-

“The City came to install the meter without notifying us, but at one stage we were without water for more than two weeks,” he

“The problem, I think, is that the sub-contactors installing the devices are not working with
the council. They get paid per installation, and then they go.
They are not responsible for
any complaints the residents might have. There is no trouble-
shootingtakingplace with the installation process. Then you
have to go from pillar to post
trying to get answers from the City.”

He believes the devices are being bought in bulk and that there are bound to be duds
among them.

“The people who are getting the short end of the stick are the ratepayers. They are the ones paying for services, but then you
have people in IY using large amounts to wash their taxis. But the City is just doing things and then telling ratepayers to pay

“We are now in a water crisis, but my question is why didn’t the City put in water management systems before we reached the point of crisis? Now we have to pay because this process wasn’t managed properly.”

Hangberg resident Najuwa October, who lives in Kingfisher Lane, has been without water for the past week.

“They came to put in this new meter in November. Everything was fine, but then, at midnight last week Wednesday, the water went off, and it hasn’t come back on. What is happening is terrible,” she said this week.

“It’s worrying because the geyser can also break because there’s no water in it. I’ve been phoning the City all the time, but they say I first have to be entered into the computer before anyone can come out.”

City spokesperson Tarryn Rinkwest said: “The City is investiga-
ting the particulars of your en-
quiry and will respond in due course.”