Maverick Citizen


Buckets and JoJo tanks are the order of the day for Joburg’s elderly residents as taps run dry

Buckets and JoJo tanks are the order of the day for Joburg’s elderly residents as taps run dry
An elderly lady who only wanted to be known as Ma Pam collects water from a JoJo tank far from her house due to water shortages in Vrededorp. (Photo: Yola Minnar)

Elderly residents in Johannesburg suburbs without water are battling to cope — and big-hearted community members are lending a helping hand.

Johannesburg Water has been struggling to supply Joburg residents with the precious commodity. On Tuesday, residents in Mayfair, Vrededorp, Brixton, Crosby and surrounds said they had not had water supplies for a week. In Crosby and Vrededorp, water restrictions have been imposed from 9pm to 4.30am daily for the past month.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Gauteng under ‘severe strain’ as power cuts hit water supply systems

Vrededorp resident Yola Minnaar (57) was one of the first people in the area who had a JoJo water tank for the community on her property.  

Minnaar has received four more of the tanks from Johannesburg Water and Gift of the Givers. She fills buckets with water and delivers them to the elderly and physically challenged with the assistance of a resident with a van. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: “South Africans urged to use water sparingly as rolling blackouts hit precious resource” 

Minaar says: “This water issue has been going on for years now. Old-age units have no running water … old people can’t carry these buckets, it’s way too heavy for them. Four weeks ago our taps were completely dry. How can we be deprived of water? Personally, I’m tired of bucket-washing. Can [Johannesburg Water] give us valid updates?”  

Water trucks have been dispersed in affected areas including Brixton, Crosby, Vrededorp and surrounding areas. Residents in Vrededorp haven’t had consistent water supply in weeks. (Photo: Yola Minnar)

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Rick Nair, the councillor of Ward 58, which covers the water-stricken areas, said he had scheduled meetings with the CEO of Johannesburg Water and the city’s mayor. 

“Some of the leadership is new but today I was at the Civic Centre and asked residents to come to get answers with me — this issue has to be resolved,” he said. 

Yunus Fakrooden, a resident of Crosby, echoed Minnaar’s sentiments about the elderly struggling to access water.

“The young ones sometimes help, but this is too much now. We need clear communication and an alternative plan, such as boreholes in the community. 

“We experienced a water shortage for days in October 2022 as well; we were told that the infrastructure is dilapidated and it will take two years to restore it. We are saying alternative plans must be made in the meantime,” said Fakrooden. 

He said it had been difficult keeping the house clean, cooking and maintaining personal hygiene. 

Another resident, Radia Woods (60), said: “I go get three 20-litre buckets from my son in Florida Hills [18km away]. It is easy getting it but having to get it into the house is physically difficult.” 

Resident Zahida Osman said: “We just want honest and open answers so we know what we are dealing with. This is a right and we are paying a lot for electricity and water we do not have.” DM/MC


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