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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Water problem bursting

The water problem at the estate is going beyond just Izz not having water for one night and him smelling for a couple of hours at the office - before he hit the gym showers.


I wake up on Saturday morning and as I leave the complex, I find a good mass of people, black and white alike, at the main estate entrance. Some with placards screaming "We want water" and a large bold lettered pink billboard publicising "R1000 in levy but still no water". I was going somewhere important, but I decided that I was meant for action on any given day, especially if it mobilises people to find a solution or be it to put pressure on somebody to resolve an issue.
So I started asking questions only to find out the crowd was even bigger than this in the early morning. Shoo. People take this seriously and I must stop seeing the funny part of it. Then like a foot soldier, I grabbed me a Petition Paper to start, like the traffic police, pulling off the road a couple cars to invite them to sign the petition. These are the words on the Petition Paper:

We the people...

"We the residents of Mooikloof Ridge, hereby register our concern and outrage to the unhygienic, disrespectful, [and] inconsiderate water cut-offs and shortages.
Against this, we hereby demand an urgent resolution to the matter and call for our money's worth".

Then the names and signatures follow - many of them in fact. I have the petition papers with me as now I have taken personal interest in this, although my water is back since Friday evening. Howevr, some (most, I must estimate) residents who have been long affected by this problem still don't have water and will not have for a prolonged period - but the levy must be paid.

See the technical, literate explanation of why people smell when they go to work and they can't flush their toilets: http://www.mooikloofridge.com/. I respect and agree with the effort. But what I don't buy is that for more than 3 years, a combined pool of professional brains could not find a solution to this or plan to avoid a recurrence. That either baffles me or my wife has a nincompoop for a hubby.

Mobilise and publicise

On chatting with those who initiated the petition, we both agreed on suggestions of making this problem public and involve the media. Put constructive pressure on the body corporate (who are toothless by the way) and the profit-kissing developers. I am at liberty to name the developer now since the petition has named the ocncerned estate. The developer is M-T Developments - a company I investigated and in fact, wrote a minimum of three articles during my tenure at the Sunday Times. This was mainly on that they flout municipal by-laws and initiate large scale constructions without receiving, prior, approved EIAs (Environmental Impact Assesment).
Now, it means these guys are so big or so monied that they may have a number of important people on their payroll that all their constructions, legit or not, will go through anyways - regardless of what the already underperforming, overworked government says. Smacks of the epitome of capitalism vs seemingly ineffective municipal/government systems. (But when you consider red tape in South Africa, other interesting questions jump up).

Carte Blanche

There may not really be a story as yet, but the guys I spoke to want to involve Carte Blanche. And I also suggested other media powerhouses. Whether this will bring enough pressure for this developer to run quick and resolve the problem in a sustainable way or cause peoples investments to be hurt somewhat, I am not sure. But one thing I know: people can't leave without water. You take away water from a man, you removed at least the one thing he can't leave without for any longer period.

So, to the media it will go. In any case, how can your investment be a sound profitable one if there is no water? You simply cannot sell it at against its real value. I gathered some people cook, bath, and do laundry now with bottled mineral water. I bet the nearby supermarket is all smiles at the suddent disapperance of the bottles from their shelves. Buy mineral water all you may as you still have your credit card sound, but not being part of the solution entourage will ensure that the problem stays.


The water problem at Mooikloof Ridge, I get told, dates back even further than I had earlier stated. It goes back an estimated 3-4 years, I was told by one lady. She knows of someone who even resigned from the incompetent, toothless body corporate there.

We are staying

Myself, my wife, my kids and those on the solutions entourage are adamant that we are staying since we chose that estate for damned good reasons and we believe in the lifestyle there. And one way of ensuring that such a lifestyle is something more than just a delusion, is to put pressure on the developer.

I don't mention (attack) the municipality, at this stage, for I don't see why it is their problem that some estate management lacks plannning skills although they have been running estates and complexes ever since the concept was imported into South Africa - an import, I have since learnt from wondering, that was copied verbatim from the States and Europe and dumped into South Africa - a different environment and animal, withouth much modification.

Tires may burn

Not exactly like the Merafong incident, which remains unresolved, but tires may burn come next weekend at Mooikloof Ridge. So imagine a bunch of professionals who are not bored or less busy - black and white - starting to shout, scream, hurl insults, waving angry placards in the backdrop of thick black tire-smoke bellowing in the sky Pretoria east suburbia.

Now that is not nice. You could expect that in certain areas where people prefer violence than going to the table to negotiate peacefully. Eish! I am going to have my digicam at hand and will be blogging every minute of it - this time in pictures. And my blogs will not be confined to this problem being a Mooikloof Ridge residents problem, but some phenomena that has more to it than just water.

It may have:

  • Bad government
  • Long-leave municipal workers
  • Indifinetely suspended government employees
  • Ineffective home affairs
  • The ballot of the poor versus the white man's vote
  • The scramble for resources
  • A burst pipe
  • The mafia
  • Sales-driven estate agents
  • The cursing old man
My photos here: ____ www.flickr.com/photos/izzyone
"Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers." - Voltaire

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