Emmarentia Residents Association info@era.org.za (000) 111-1111

Emmarentia Post, No 1 April 2023

The official publication of the Emmarentia Residents Association

Water Interruptions – Another Crisis

“No water” has become a common cry from us all. What is going on? Rob Cass who holds ERA’s infrastructure portfolio takes a look.

A Perfect Storm

A significant part of the problem stems from the worst and most protracted bout of load-shedding the country has experienced. Electricity is required at each stage of the journey of our water from the source, through the treatment facility, through the bulk supply pumps to the reservoirs, and on to our houses. Electricity interruptions to treatment and pumping facilities mean reservoir levels are compromised and outflows need to be restricted to prevent issues that arise from running them dry. This management of reservoir water levels means that even when bulk supply has recovered, it can take days or weeks for reservoir levels to recover to a sufficient extent for normal water supply to resume.

Aging Infrastructure

As we have experienced with load-shedding, ongoing interruptions to water supply place a huge strain on infrastructure. Water infrastructure in our area (and Joburg in general) was already under severe pressure from years of underinvestment and neglect of maintenance, coupled with increased demand from densification. As water interruptions continue, they will only increase the rate of deterioration of the infrastructure and create further supply issues.

High Demand

The third factor in the current crisis is demand for water. These interruptions have coincided with our peak summer months where demand is highest.

Joburg Water has placed much of the blame for the crisis at the door of the consumer, claiming that our estimated average domestic water usage of 237 litres per person per day is 64 litres (or 37%) higher than the international average of 173 litres. What they conveniently forget to mention is that their estimate includes ‘non-revenue’ water – which includes losses from leaks, water theft from tampered meters, and unbilled supply to fire departments and similar services. This non-revenue water is estimated to be 41% of the bulk supply – more than covering the deviation of our per capita consumption from the international average.

Will Things Improve?

There are a few factors that will hopefully improve the outlook in the short and medium term.

* Government is paving the way for some critical infrastructure (such as the bulk water pumps) to be exempt from loadshedding. This should significantly improve the short-term outlook, especially as there is lower demand as we move into the winter months.

* A new reservoir is planned for Brixton which is intended to add capacity to the system, yet this will only be completed in a minimum of 18 months.

* A new Rand Water supply line is planned – which will increase the bulk supply to Joburg Water – as well as a new pumping station and pipeline to improve supply to the Hursthill supply zone. However, there is not yet a timeline for these projects.

The greatest risk remains in the long-term outlook as water infrastructure continues to degrade at an alarming rate. Without a commitment from Joburg Water to properly plan for, upgrade, and provide additional infrastructure, we are likely to suffer from water supply issues long into the future.

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The complicated diagram that shows how water gets to us (or doesn’t)

What can we do?

Sadly, both Joburg Water and Rand Water have failed to even admit that there is a crisis and instead have chosen to point fingers and avoid responsibility. As they have been pushed for solutions from various sectors of society, the plans they have put in place lack clarity, transparency, and urgency.

Two years ago, after ERA motivated for the replacement of continually leaking pipes in the suburb, Joburg Water agreed to replace 7590 metres. We are still waiting. Recently the entity told us that it is “allocated to the Project Management Unit who will assess and implement when funds become available”.

ERA will continue to follow up with Joburg Water and engage with our councillor and relevant municipal officials to push for this and other local infrastructure upgrades.

Advocacy groups

Meanwhile, several advocacy groups have been formed to engage with the responsible parties and attempt to force action and ensure accountability.

What now?

We all need to hold government and its agencies accountable.

* Send your questions about service delivery problems you are experiencing and that you want answers to, to nicolene@ward88jhb.net by 24 April or info@era.org.za. Or fill in this google form https://forms.gle/qc84s8nFiSLbLJDLA and attend the Town Hall meeting on 3 May to hear the entities’ responses. 

* Report water leaks to            

customer@jwater.co.za  and escalate to Nicolene on 063 479 4234

* Please consider joining and supporting ERA. The more members we have, the bigger our voice

* Support, involve yourself in organisations working to improve the situation.


Is your glass half-full or half-empty?

Judging by whatsapp chatter on the Emmarentia groups, many people’s glasses are half-empty (and NO it’s not just because of Joburg Water’s water shedding!).

A survey done in February this year of individuals earning more than R10 000 per month, (i.e. tax-payers – 30% of the population) asked respondents: How does load shedding affect you personally?

82% of respondents answered: “It makes me feel despondent about the future of the country.”

Are you feeling the same way? How do we keep positive amid all these negatives? How do we make the glass half full again? 

Staying positive

* Join a Whatsapp group in the suburb—you get a chance to vent your frustrations and find out what’s going on.

* Join ERA and help us report complaints and make the City accountable.  

* Help to keep our suburb clear of litter and weeds:

– One group regularly clean litter and weeds on Olifants Road on the bridge.

– Others donate regularly to Let’s Work who rely on donations to pay a group of workers to keep our open parks clean, our mini-subs clear of verdant undergrowth and numerous other things;

– another group have repaired potholes themselves. 

There is hope

For others like Saber Manjoo, it’s all about pestering City of Joburg until they deliver. When he first moved to Emmarentia he was frustrated at an open trench just outside his property, no streetlights along the road outside his house and bushes that were obscuring the Spruit just next to him and providing hiding spaces for criminals.

Months of complaining, getting references and escalating to the councillor where necessary, have finally borne fruit.

“We must log calls and keep escalating until the issue is resolved,” he says. “It is tiring and onerous but we have to persist to get things done. There is hope.”

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Keep reporting water leaks, streetlight outages so that the City fixes things up

Help with street names

ERA echoes Manjoo’s sentiments. We want to engage with JRA to replace missing or damaged road names in Emmarentia, and we need your help.

Please report any road names which are missing from kerbs as well as sign posts and e-mail info@era.org.za so that we can send a list to JRA.

Please include the correct intersection and the name which is missing.

We’ll keep you updated.

Updates from last newsletter

* ‘Homeless’ at Parkhurst Bowling Club

SAPS and JMPD continue to move people off the old Parkhurst bowling club opposite the dump site at Pirates only for them to return a day later.

Parkview CPF’s Geraldine Connell says that the “CPF, SAPS and residents associations are in discussion about the best practice for residents who want to assist the ‘homeless’.”

Watch this space.

*   Desilting and repair of top and middle dam walls in Emmarentia Park

We are keeping our fingers crossed that work will soon start on desilting the top two dams and removing invasive alien plants that threaten to completely throttle the top dam.

There are also plans to shift the outflow of the top dam to the western side and to repair both bridges. 

More on Whatsapp Groups.



*  ERA helps keep SAPS Parkview’s lights on

Early this year ERA donated R3000 to CPF Parkview towards the costs of an inverter so that Parkview SAPS can continue fighting crime during loadshedding.

Together with other donations from a handful of residents, the CPF managed to raise R18 100.

However the CPF’s Geraldine Connell says that “after paying for professional installation and purchasing a security camera and burglar bars to secure the installation, the total cost came in at just over R28 000.”

The CPF is still short of R10 000.  ERA challenges any business or residents to contribute. Section 18A certificates provided on request.

Pay to:

Bank: FNB
Branch: Craighall
Account No: 62082896899
Reference: Name + inverter

*  Upcoming Events

3-4 June Linden Market, Joburg Botanic Gardens

23 July    Walk the Talk, Marks Park (NB: numbers will be limited to 20 000)

5 Aug     Liefde by die Dam, Joburg Botanic Gardens

2-3 Sept  Linden Market, Joburg Botanic Gardens

1 Oct      Spar Ladies Race, Marks Park (10 000 runners)

25-26 Nov    Linden Market, Joburg Botanic Gardens

*  For creatives

Are you a local maker, creator, side hustler or business owner that would like to hire a stall at the Linden Market, see here for details: https://thelindenmarket.com/maker-applications-2023

Or if you are an artist, musician, entertainer and want to perform at the Linden Market – see here:about:blankEmbed URLPaste a link to the content you want to display on your site.EmbedLearn more about embeds(opens in a new tab)Sorry, this content could not be embedded.Try again Convert to link


How many people are allowed to live on a residential property?

In previous editions ERA has shone the spotlight on home enterprises and heritage and building regulations. Today ERA’s Gemey Abrahams looks at what the town planning rules are around occupancy of your home. 

IN terms of town planning, the City has a Municipal Planning Bylaw (2016) and under this falls the City’s Land Use Scheme (2018). The Land Use Scheme provides information on zoning and what you can legally do with a property in each zone.

In Emmarentia, most of our homes are zoned Residential 1. The Land Use Scheme has many important definitions of land uses and planning terms that apply to properties. Your Residential 1 property has the automatic or primary zoning right for a “dwelling house”. A “dwelling house” is intended for a “household”.

Dwelling house or household

A dwelling house is defined as “a detached, self-contained, inter-connected suite of rooms containing a kitchen and the applicable ablutions, used for the living accommodation and housing of one household”. 

A household is defined as “a singular person or group of persons that are biologically or legally related to one another and live together”. A household can include parents and in-laws (or any related family) living in the house with you. This can include the two cottages (subsidiary dwellings) that you are permitted on your Residential 1 property (with limitations set out in the Land Use Scheme).

What this means is a residential home or dwelling house must have 1 kitchen and be the home of 1 household. 

Anything more than this could be illegal and we are reminded that the Municipal Planning bylaw, Section 2 (3) is very clear that “No person may use or develop land unless the use or land development is permitted in terms of the City’s land use scheme …” and Section 2(40) that says that the “By law binds every owner of land and any successor-in-title of such land and every user of the land…..” Fines and penalties (higher rates) can be enforced.

What is a commune?

If you rent out rooms or cottages on your property you may be contravening these regulations because you may be running an illegal commune. The City of Johannesburg has a Communes Policy (2009) and it states that “when there are two or more unrelated people living under one roof who are being charged for accommodation on one property, with or without the owners living on the property” it is considered to be a commune. You may not have more than 8 persons living in a commune according to the definition of Commune in the Land Use Scheme. 

You need to apply for planning Consent to have a commune and applying may avoid immediate prosecution but it does not guarantee that approval will be granted.

The ERA encourages all residents and owners of property to be informed of their property rights and to strive to be compliant so that we remain the best and most compliant suburb in Joburg.

Need more info, want to report an illegal building? mail info@era.org.za

Did you know?

YOU cannot sell your house unless you have up to date, approved building plans. Up to date means that what is on the ground on your property must be the same as what is on your plans. 

If you need to update your plans contact ERA for more guidance and information because your updated plans will need to be signed off by ERA (on behalf of the Lourens Geldenhuys Family in terms of your title deeds). Contact info@era.org.za or Gemey Abrahams on 082 459 5266


The Geldenhuys Cemetery

BEHIND a beautiful stone wall on Hill Road, just across the road from the parking area for Emmarentia Primary School lies the Geldenhuys Cemetery.

It’s the resting place of many family members of Lourens Geldenhuys, the man who initially bought parts of the Braamfontein Farm from Bezuidenhout in 1886.

His sons, Louw and Frans soon took over ownership of the farm from their father. Louw built his house on 14 Greenhill Road and Frans at Marks Park.

Louw married Emmarentia Botha, after whom Emmarentia is named. Frans married Judith Grobbelaar – hence Judith Road.

There are 70 graves in this cemetery, many of them unnamed. 49 of the graves are children’s, the vast majority of whom died of diphtheria, a bacterial infection that is virtually unheard of today because of routine vaccinations given to babies. The last person was laid to rest there in 1942.

Other graves bear the names of   Botha, Viljoen, Pienaar, Swanepoel, Steyn, Ayres, Heyneke, McGrath, Olivier, Joubert and Hopley, some of whom were family members and others who are believed to have been tenant farmers on the property .

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The imposing gates of the Geldenhuys Cemetery

No history of the cemetery would be complete without a visit to Melville Koppies where you can still see a blasthole where the Geldenhuys brothers tried to find gold as well as evidence that people have been living where we live for thousands and thousands of years.

If you’d like to visit the cemetery, or if you can tell us more, e-mail          info@era.org.za

Visit Melville Koppies Heritage Site on Sunday mornings—8-11.30am—more www.mk.org.za

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The renewed history board on Melville Koppies that explains the Geldenhuys history

Councillor’s corner

* W88 Whatsapp group

Councillor Nicolene Jonker has set up a new whatsapp group for Emmarentia residents in Ward 88 so that she can better inform residents of problems with infrastructure, circulate City news, public meetings etc.

Here is the link if you want to join – https://chat.whatsapp.com/Evp9RA473q4KRMgHEAz9g5

* Electricity outages – when to report?

If your power doesn’t come back more than 30 minutes after the scheduled end of load shedding:

·  Check with your neighbours to see if they are also off.

·  Check whatsapp groups for any messages: perhaps others in your street are off and there’s a message from Nicolene or Felicity to say that ‘City Power is aware, don’t report’.

·  If you are the only one off, then check your own distribution board to see if it’s tripped. If it hasn’t:

– Log your fault with City Power on https://za4.forcelink.net/forcelink/customportal/cp_mdt/customerportal.html#

(register first if you are using the system for the first time) (Tel (011) 490-7484)

You will be sent a CPWeb reference number. Please then send details to Nicolene in this format:

▶ Your Name:

▶ Your Number:

▶ Address of issue:

▶ Date logged:

▶ Time Logged:

▶ Ref nr:

▶ Short description:

Sometimes Nicolene creates a google form for everyone to add their outage to.

* Keep the City accountable

ERA is working closely with the Councillor and her ward committee to try to keep the City accountable. We need your help to report issues when you see them and escalate with the reference number in the format above to Nicolene if there is no response from the entity. Attend the Town Hall meeting on 12 April.

Who to call?

* JMPD – for all by-law infringements— (011 375 5911)

e.g. Noise complaints – The City’s by-laws say that there is to be no construction work of any kind on a Sunday or public holiday (this includes cutting trees). – get a reference number; if no response escalate to Nicolene.

*  Joburg Water log all water and sewer-related issues, including holes in pavements/roads dug to fix leaking pipes and not filled with tarmac

(011) 375-5555; customer@jwater.co.za

* City Parks

(011) 375-5555 or 0860 562 874 


* Fallen Tree?

WhatsApp details, address & photo to (082) 803-0748

* JRA –


Not sure who to report to, check https://era.org.za/report-a-fault/

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Advert and newsletter proudly sponsored by Emmarentia resident and ERA member, Elsabé Wessels

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