Emmarentia Post, No 3, October 2023
Just after we had sent the latest newsletter to the printer, the weather got hotter and hotter, and just when we needed it more than ever, water stopped coming out of our taps. We tried to stop the printing of the newsletter so that we could update it, but it was too late.
So we then inserted a special note to all residents asking for your help in getting to the bottom of what is going wrong with our water.
By now you should have received a newsletter in your postbox together with the updated insert. If you didn’t, here they both are.
Please feel free to send us any suggestions, questions etc.
And please consider joining ERA – see the link here https://era.org.za/join-era/ . More voices make us stronger so that we can represent you better.
Emmarentia Residents Association
WATER CRISIS – We need your help
We’ve all suffered through these past few weeks with extreme heat and little water. We’ve listened to your suggestions on what to do on the WhatsApp groups. We’ve joined with WaterCAN, other residents’ associations and the Water Crisis Committee to strengthen our voice.
On October 9, WaterCAN sent letters to both Rand Water and Joburg Water demanding answers and site visits so we can be assured that everything is being done to rectify and stabilise the situation so that we are guaranteed water in our taps. See here for copies of letters:https://era.org.za/2023/10/10/era-joins-with-watercan/
And then matters got worse when Joburg Water tried to fix the big leak in the feeder pipes on Melville Koppies above Zambezi Road and we lost all water for a few days. Now the big leak is fixed, but other ongoing leaks continue.
A big section of plastic piping has been inserted into the very old metal pipe on the big feeder pipe on Melville Koppies near the Zambesi Road entrance
We need your help:
- Sign the WaterCAN petition https://chng.it/KzsPcrhD8M to show your support.
- If you believe air in your pipes is inflating your water bill, fill in the form here https://forms.gle/RK942DWKckGoyCfA8 or send your details to email@example.com We need details of your last 3 water bills.
- Be ready to attend a community meeting for further updates and to discuss future strategies.
The Emmarentia Post, No 3, October 2023
Water situation – still no proper answers
The last 3 ERA newsletters have highlighted water problems – a year later we are regularly back to Day Zero with those up on the ridge suffering the most. Some neighbouring suburbs like Melville have been without water for days on end.
Rand Water blames Joburg Water and the municipalities it supplies for losing up to 60% of the water that they receive – most because of badly maintained infrastructure.
We know this is the case—Emmarentia’s water pipes are long past their useful date; they regularly spring leaks. Close to 10km of pipes have been okayed to replace but Joburg Water is still waiting for the budget to be allocated.
Even so, Joburg Water claims it’s not getting the water that Rand Water has promised to deliver and that residents are just “using too much”. Even if Rand Water and Joburg Water resolve the blame game, there is something way more sobering lurking in the wings.
South Africa is a water-scarce country. Joburg itself relies on pristine water from Lesotho that travels on a long journey from dams in Lesotho’s mountains through a very complex system of tunnels into rivers in South Africa which feed into the Vaal River and then into the Vaal dam.
Michael Muller, an ex-Water Department official, warned on SAFM on September 20 that until Phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is fully operational by 2028, Gauteng is “going to require to stay below the consumption of 2018.”
Rand Water, he says, has to follow rigorous Department of Water computer models and restrict the flow of water out of the system to ensure that there’s water for the dry years. These models limit Rand Water to only draw “around 1 600 mm3/annum” (same study).
In 2018/19 Gauteng-based think-tank, GCRO produced a study predicting what the constraint on water supply would mean for consumers. https://www.gcro.ac.za/outputs/policy-and-other-outputs/
This study estimated that by 2023, the Gauteng population would be more than 16 million people and that households would have to restrict themselves to 256 litres per person per day. In fact, current estimates of Gauteng’s population are lower—the same model equates this with 272 litres of water per person per day.
What is your water usage?
How are you doing as a household? What is your consumption per person per day? Are you within this limit?
What can we do to save water?
· Report any water/sewerage leaks – firstname.lastname@example.org escalate to Cllr Nicolene if no action
· Use water as sparingly as possible
· Adhere to Level 1 water restrictions:
– No use of hosepipes to water gardens, wash cars, clean driveways, as well as fill up swimming pools and water features between 06:00 and 18:00.
– And until the water situation has normalised, don’t fill up swimming pools, if you do, there’s a good chance that your neighbour up the hill won’t have water that night.
· Recycle water where you can
· Help the DA calculate how much water Joburg Water is really losing. Add your information here: https://forms.gle/apsFLMheJD2DhDo56 Please include the reference number from when it was logged.
Thank you to the mosque, to the Jossells for providing water to some of the shops/flats on Greenhill and to all those households that regularly offer their borehole water to residents for free. We really value your generosity.
Time for action
It’s time for residents to move beyond WhatsApp activism was the overriding message of the AGM of the Emmarentia Residents Association (ERA).
ERA Chairperson Ayanda Mjekula told residents gathered at Marks Park, that if they want the City to respond to their needs, they need to show outrage and take action.
To one resident’s question, “How will ERA make their voice heard, the City doesn’t take ERA seriously,” Mjekula responded that there were many initiatives that residents could get involved in that would improve the situation, many of which work across the suburbs to improve the chance of achieving success. (see next page)
“I would not want to reach the stage taken by the residents of Westville who have opted to withhold rates payments,” he said.
See here for all AGM reports: https://era.org.za/2023/08/22/era-agm-6-september-2023-18h30-marks-park/
Your Exco team
At the AGM on September 6, the current Exco team agreed to continue for another year. This is the team for 2023/24.
Chairperson Ayanda Mjekula
Vice chair vacant
Treasurer Brian Askew
Communication Claire Hoffmann
Green spaces/events Shameme Manjoo, Mohamed Motala, Anne Askew (support)
Infrastructure Rob Cass
Newsletter Jenny Grice
Security Ayanda Mjekula, Rudesh Patel
Town planning, building plans, heritage Gemey Abrahams, Bienfait Bula, Mohamed Motala
Legal support Kerensa Millard
General support Shameme Manjoo, Zaahid Kadjee
Anyone wanting to join ERA or to offer to help, please contact us on email@example.com
See the list of initiatives below to see how you can contribute. And if you know of other initiatives, please share with us so we can also let residents know of them.
|What is the project?||Purpose/goal||How you can help||More info|
|Adopt a park – open space below Emmarentia Dam bordered by LG drive, John Mackenzie, 5th Avenue, Tana, Hofmeyer||Address homelessness, invasive alien plants, environmental damage, litter and make the area safe for all who use it||Help monitor, do clearing of alien vegetation, donate to the project etc||Saber Manjoo firstname.lastname@example.org ERA has endorsed this initiative and will be actively supporting it.|
|Spruit Action Collective||Help manage the spruit and the homeless, environmental damage at Parkhurst bowling club, Keith Fleming Park||New initiative – log a call on a displaced person; get involved; offer your help||Wolfgang Phoenix email@example.com https://sos.joburg/|
|Monitoring water leaks – Joburg Water says residents are using too much water.||To report all water leaks and sewerage spills as soon as you see them||Report all water leaks to firstname.lastname@example.org; escalate to Cllr Nicolene if nothing happens.|
|Let’s Work||Provide hope for the homeless to get off the streets. Help secure electricity infrastructure; clear the spruit below John McKenzie of rubbish; pothole filling etc etc||Donate in cash or kind to: Let’s Work – https://www.facebook.com/letsworkza/||Felicity Gratz-Lawlor – 082 568 1783|
|Fixing potholes – Emmarentia, Greenside, Victory Park initiative||To fill in potholes in Emmarentia, Greenside, Victory Park||Donate to the fund – KCT Sunnyshell, FNB 63047148910; DM POP to 083 786 9101; join the group to report potholes. Contact Azhar Cassim||Azhar Cassim – 083 786 9101|
|Report all illegal building or usage activities||To keep the City compliant and accountable||e-mail email@example.com copy firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Support homeless organisations||Donate in cash or kind to support homeless organisations; don’t give to beggars||Find out the options on: https://era.org.za/2023/08/31/how-you-can-support-the-homeless/|
|Gold Reef Rose Society||Help restore the rose garden at the Botanic Gardens||Buy 4 PRE-SELECTED roses from Ludwig’s Egoli and a bag of planting mix for R599.40 for Botanic Gardens and get 4 for yourself and the planting mix for the same email@example.com or WAp text 083 985 8632 or more info https://era.org.za/2023/09/21/lets-make-it-bloom-again/|
|Parkview Stakeholders Forum||A weekly meeting called by SAPS Parkview of all security companies, residents’ associations||Attend for ERA on Wednesdays at 11h00 at SAPS Parkview; ERA Chair, Ayanda Mjekula, and Rudesh Patel, not always able firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Community patrollers under Parkview CPF||Become a community patroller – help be the eyes and ears of the community – support SAPS and security companies||To reduce crime and stop criminal activities before they happen||CPF chair – Geraldine Connell – email@example.com|
|Victim Support Unit – Parkview SAPS||To counsel/help those who have been victims of crime in the precinct—must have drivers licence/ transport.||VSU is looking for psychologists, life-line counsellors, social workers etc.||Contact VSU on 072 280 4453 to find out more. (Regret—no payment of volunteers)|
Have you been unfairly treated by the City of Joburg? Contact the Ombudsman
What is the Ombudsman?
An independent office of last instance i.e. residents/businesses may only approach the office after they have lodged their complaint with the CoJ customer service centres and exhausted all official channels available within the CoJ.
1. Lodge complaint with CoJ call centre—0860 562874. Give them reasonable time to resolve. Get a reference.
2. If not resolved, phone 010 288 2800 or 081 365 0225 or e-mail your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org Include: copy of prescribed complaint form; copy of your ID; reference number from CoJ; proof of residence; all prior correspondence related to the complaint.
Botanic Gardens and dog walkers
“We are shocked that so many people had their dogs in the rose garden and there were big dogs there and some of them were even swimming in the newly-repaired fountain.”
This was the comment of generous residents and members of the Rose Society who are helping to restore the rose gardens in the Botanic Gardens to their former glory. Even though the area is zoned “NO DOGS”, dog-walkers regularly ignore these signs and don’t pick up after their dogs.
Just to remind everyone… These are two zones in the park – one for dogs and the other where no dogs are allowed. The dog section is way bigger than the NO DOGS section (see graphic below). Please can dog-walkers respect this and pick up after their dogs.
Moreover, according to the by-law below:
Dogs in public places
6. (1) Subject to any provision to the contrary in these By-laws or any other law, no person may bring a dog into any public place or allow it to be done if that dog –
(a) is wild, dangerous or ferocious;
(b) is in a habit of charging at or chasing people or vehicles; or
(c) is an unsterilised female dog which is on heat.
(2) Subject to section 16(1) of the Council’s Public Open Spaces By-laws, published under Notice 831 in Provincial Gazette Extraordinary No. 179 dated 21 May 2004, no person may permit any dog to be in a public place unless it is kept on a leash and under control of a person.
(3) Any person in control of a dog in a public place, excluding a person who is assisted by a guide dog, must remove any defecation of such dog.
[NOTICE NO 1626 IN GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GAZETTE NO 275 DATED 4 SEPTEMBER 2019]
Please abide by the by-laws!
25-26 Nov Linden Market, Joburg Botanic Gardens
2-3 Dec On the Lawn (Marks Park
Support car guards
Please support these new car guards at Greenhill Road shops and on Komatie Road outside Kitchen of Oz. Some business owners have hired a private car guard company for shoppers’ safety and enjoyment. Shopowners request shoppers not to support any other car guards.
The new car guards will get new bibs with the Greenhill Business logos soon.
R to L: Zakariya, Martin, Salah and Albert
Safety in Botanic Gardens
In August there were a number of muggings of Emmarentia park users early in the morning towards Judith Road. Some muggers were threatened at gunpoint. Only one incident was reported to SAPS.
ERA met with Botanic Gardens, City Parks security, the regional manager of the private security company that City Parks employs, Mabotwane, and SAPS to discuss the issue. ERA also took part in a walkabout around the park in this section with City Parks, to speak to the security guards and to investigate gates that were reported unlocked. (for more details see the Environmental report https://era.org.za/2023/08/22/era-agm-6-september-2023-18h30-marks-park/)
SAPS urges all park users to report any incident to them – e.g. muggings, attacks, theft etc. If SAPS is called after an incident, they will send a patrol vehicle to the park, take a statement from the affected party and open a case.
ERA will attend a follow-up meeting at the park soon. Please send any complaints/suggestions about the security at the park to email@example.com
Follow the Heritage rules
All original properties in Emmarentia are now over 60 years’ old and fall under national heritage legislation. If you want to make any alteration, addition, demolition on such a house, you require approval from the Provincial Heritage Resources Authority of Gauteng – PHRAG.
ERA will prepare a letter for the applicant to submit with their application to PHRAG. In this letter we outline as much of the history of the property as we can find to record the history of the old homes in our suburb, especially if they are being demolished or partially demolished. Through this process we are building up very interesting information about renowned architects or residents in our suburb.
ERA also assists residents by making recommendations in the letter we prepare, which speeds up the process with PHRAG. ERA assisted 15 residents to obtain heritage approval this past year. We objected to the heritage application on the large mixed use development but PHRAG approved the demolition of the homes on the site.
Homes built between 1945-55
Most homes were built between 1945 and 1955 in Emmarentia and are therefore “mid-Century” style, mostly with the characteristic yellow face brick, slate roofs and other defining features with parquet flooring (see pic below). ERA is concerned to ensure that many of these original homes are retained in the suburb for future generations and we urge sensitive renovations and acknowledgement of the early architectural styles.
ERA also tries to work with estate agents in the area to ensure that they are aware of the Emmarentia approach and that new buyers into Emmarentia are informed. We do not see Emmarentia as an area that is open for buying homes to demolish. Under property law, no-one has full, unfettered rights to do what they like with a property they own – there are always laws that “reduce” the rights in property.
Building in Emmarentia
If you are building, extending your house or renovating, please respect your neighbours!
We receive ongoing complaints of builders that are inconsiderate, that block neighbours from leaving their homes when they are delivering building materials or taking away rubble, of builders making a noise despite being asked numerous times by neighbours to keep the noise down as they are trying to work from home.
Land invasions reporting
Please report all incidents of land invasion, including shacks, tents and shelters in open spaces to the JMPD hotline number – 0800120555. Operational 24/7; give property details. Get reference numbers.
See here to get proper references for the open areas north of Tana Road https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=660019619503604&set=pcb.660020112836888
Copy Councillor Nicolene with the reference: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rubbish shedding coming soon too?
Never mind load shedding and water shifting, we will soon have to get used to restrictions on our rubbish too. According to Leon Grobbelaar, president of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa, the City of Johannesburg in three years will not have any landfill airspace.
For years the City has been trying to encourage residents to separate their recycling from their waste, in fact, Emmarentia was one of the first suburbs where Pikitup picked up our separated waste. Look down our streets today… How many of us are still separating our recyclables from our rubbish?
Now is the time to start. Put all your plastic, cardboard, tins (aluminium and normal tins) as well as glass bottles into a see-through plastic bag and put it out with your rubbish each week. It will be taken away and recycled either by the trolley pushers or the company that has the contract to recycle it. Once you start putting out these bags, Pikitup will give you a free one in return – if you put out two, you will get two.
If you want to reduce your waste further, buy a worm box. Put all your organic waste like vegetable, fruit peelings into the box and earthworms will eat it all up and give you liquid manure to feed your garden. On top of that, the processed organic matter can be dug into your garden beds to enrich your soil. A bokashi bucket is another alternative. Find out more from Lujae Worms—just one of the companies in the market. www.lujae.co.za