Residents are signing a petition for new pipes to be laid in the Overport area after a two-year struggle with frequent water pipe bursts in the area. The water pipe bursts are
so frequent that a burst occurs down the road just after the last burst has been repaired. Ward 31 Councillor, Christoper Pappas said: “There is currently a petition circulating that I encourage residents to sign. The petition can be obtained by emailing me or by collecting at my office near the Atrium.”

Saleem Cotwal who has been a resident on Hartley Road for the last eight years said he is at his wits end after dealing with this issue for some two years now. “As they are repairing one burst, another burst happens down the road and as they repairing the second one, a third one takes place. It is costing the municipality more to repair the pipe then to replace it. It is more cost effective to replace it once off with the blue plastic pipes,” said Cotwal.

Cotwal added that residents are paying as much as R2 500 in rates per month. Cotwal estimates that there have been 20 bursts in the last month and that the average burst takes about three-four hours to repair. “At 11pm on Sunday, plumbers came and by 10am on Monday, it was repaired. When we opened the tap, the water was trickling. Another resident drove past and said there was another burst at the hospital, which explained the weak pressure. A third burst then took place outside the school,” said Cowtal.

Cllr Pappas said that Overport residents, especially on Hartley Road, continue to be victims of old and under-maintained infrastructure. “We have recorded at least 14 major outages in the past 12 months and a number of smaller leaks. Frequent burst and leaks have led to hours without water over the past 12 months. Old asbestos and iron pipes should have been replaced years ago but because the city has a poor replacement plan the pipes are left long after their expiry date,” he said.  
According to Cllr Pappas, these outages are severely impacting on the lives of residents who diligently pay their rates. “In addition the local school and hospital are being negatively affected. One can understand a burst or a leak every once in a while but Hartley Rd has become a joke. As one burst is being fixed another happens. There have been three double bursts that have happened on the same day and three double bursts within the same week,” added Cllr Pappas.

Cllr Pappas has written to the relevant authorities for months to try and solve the issue. “The head of Water and Sanitation, simply does not respond. For the past seven months there has been no indication from him as to what EWS will do to resolve this issue,” said Cllr Pappas.

Comment from eThekwini Municipality and the Department of Water and Sanitation were not forthcoming at the time of going to press.