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

Emmarentia Post, No 1, March 2024

NO WATER! What’s new!

As I write this newsletter, that ‘NO water’ record is stuck again. Days of ‘no water’ have frazzled us. Luckily for us, we’ve been watered and cooled down by numerous generous residents as well as the mosque who have all given us free access to their borehole water.

The Jossell’s borehole behind Mica Hardware has also helped tenants in the Greenhill shops area cope with Day Zero.

And as the water outage crept into Ramadaan, Somaya from Mochachos drew up a list of residents happy to share their boreholes; others have added to this list. (see box)

Anyone needing water delivered please contact Somaya on 083 650 0577 or Felicity from Let’s Work on 082 568 1783. Beagle will also assist with delivery.

Thank you – words are not enough to say how grateful we all are.

What’s going on?

Can our water failures all be blamed on a lightning strike at City Power’s transformer that supplies Rand Water’s Eikenhof pump station on March 3 followed by a ‘flashover’ (a short) the following day at the same City Power outlet? We don’t know.

NGO WaterCAN and ward councillors continue to demand answers.   

WaterCAN’s executive manager, Ferrial Adam, said that despite an established forum for authorities to communicate with civil society and residents, “we have to chase these bodies for answers.”

Moreover, this current water crisis is much worse than before. As at Sunday 10 March, this was the long list of ‘ailing’ reservoirs/towers at critically low levels: Crosby, Hursthill 1 and 2, Linden 1 reservoir and tower, Linden 2 reservoir, Blairgowrie reservoir, Kensington B tower, Orange Farm, Ennerdale, Lawley, Lenasia Hospital Hill, Lenasia High Level reservoirs.

To add to the crisis, on that same Sunday night, a 4.5 hour outage affected the same pump station resulting in all of us waking up to no water in our taps on Monday March 11. This outage can only slow down the recovery of the entire network.

Ex-ERA Exco member, Kat Western, remembers that in 2010, “ERA and Emmarentia residents asked for [a back-up power solution] after a prolonged period of water outage (at least a week) as a result of an Eikenhof power outage.” 14 years later and there is still no back-up power arrangement and we are without water yet again…

What to do?

WaterCAN will host a crucial civil society meeting on Friday 15 March at 2pm to discuss the Joburg water crisis. The meeting will provide a platform for concerned organisations to voice their grievances. ERA will be there to add your voices.

“We will demand accountability and an undertaking that preventive measures will be undertaken immediately to avoid a recurrence of this water crisis,” says Ayanda Mjekula, ERA’s chairperson.

“Moreover, we will pressurise the authorities to give our experts access to conduct an enquiry and to advise on preventive measures,” he adds.

Find a borehole near you:

  • Buffalo Rd – 4, 37, 49
  • Congo Rd – 45
  • Greenhill Rd – 2, 10, 12, 26 (Gate on Hill Rd)
  • Greenside Mosque – cnr Ingalele & Barry Hertzog Emmarentia
  • Hill Rd – 6, 40, 60
  • Illovo Rd – 3, 16
  • John MacKenzie – 70
  • Komatie Rd – 12, 18 (unfiltered), 24, 46, 75
  • Letaba Rd – 22
  • Louw Geldenhuys – 14 (unfiltered)
  • Malopo Rd – 2
  • Marico Rd – 30, 34, 45
  • Muirfield Rd – 18
  • Orange Rd – 9
  • Shengani Rd – 9
  • The Braids -16, 31
  • Troon Rd – 1
  • Umgeni Rd – 38 (unfiltered)
  • Vaal Rd – 8A
  • ________________________________________________________________________________

How can ERA make its voice stronger?

 This is the question that ERA is grappling with currently.

The easy answer is for more people to join ERA. See Join ERA – Emmarentia Residents Association for what we’ve done and what we do and why you should join.

Join JoburgCAN?

One of ERA’s options is to join JoburgCAN https://joburgcan.org.za/about/, a division of OUTA, the organisation that challenged e-tolls in Joburg, and a non-profit public benefit organization. Its mission commits it to strive for “world class service delivery by those employed to serve the residents and businesses of Johannesburg”.

Julia Fish, JoburgCAN manager, told ERA’s Exco that if we join JoburgCAN, it will gives us access to regular JoburgCAN webinars where other communities share the challenges that they’ve faced and describe how they’ve dealt with these challenges. Workshops are also held to build the capacity of RA members and residents.

See here for a recent webinar which looked at ‘Lessons of active citizenry’ https://youtu.be/jIsD3CNd-eE

In this webinar, speakers from various communities shared how they’re successfully making authorities accountable. In one case they successfully pressured government to get a new clinic up and running, and in another area tackled the problem of annual flooding of parts of a residential area.

RAs remain independent

Julia stresses that although JoburgCAN provides overall assistance and brings different RAs together, each RA remains “completely independent”.

Moreover, JoburgCAN is particularly concerned with helping RAs in less-resourced areas build capacity. “It’s very important that the City doesn’t grow top-sidedly,” she says.

Collective action

Already Greenside Residents Association (GRA) has joined the organisation.

“We believe in collective action,” says GRA’s chairperson, Judith Ancer, “it gives you a better opportunity to tackle problems.”

She cites as an example how connecting with other RAs in the area, has given residents affected by the illegal settlement at Parkhurst Bowls Club more clout to put pressure on the City.

Track record

GRA was also attracted to the organisation because it has a track record of tackling the City and winning issues e.g. on e-tolls. Its      apolitical stance, its attempts to build the strength of the city and to build the capacity of its affiliates to take on the city provided further appeal.

Now that GRA has joined JoburgCAN, it is benefiting from a rejigged website which allows residents to join online and pay monthly.

“We were tired of nagging residents for money and having to keep reminding them to pay their subscriptions once a year,” says Judith.

Although JoburgCAN takes a percentage of their monthly membership income, Judith believes that it is worth it. Each RA sets its own joining fee and so can keep it affordable for its residents.

What should ERA do?

  • Should we remain on our own? Or:
  • Should we affiliate to JoburgCAN so we can learn from other RAs and together use our collective voice to make our voices louder?

Let us know—e-mail                     info@era.org.za

Find out who JoburgCAN is?

Sign into this on-line meeting that is organized by WaterCAN (also part of JoburgCAN) on the water crisis on Friday 15 March, 14h00 and hear for yourself what they do:

Click: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ArRs0t_uRPa_cwlkztJm7w#/registration


Parkhurst Bowls Club—a long and tortuous history

Ayanda Mjekula, ERA chairperson

In 2016 the Johannesburg Property Company, an entity of the City of Johannesburg, offered to demolish the Parkhurst Bowls club house after it was illegally occupied. The residents of Quinn Street declined the offer.

During 2019/20 the numbers of homeless people increased dramatically. Following the failure of four Request for Proposals (RFP), a new RFP5 was issued requiring the winning bid to temporarily rehome all 80 people living on the property in terms of a court order. A rumour circulated that those removed would be placed in formal housing structures. Informal structures emerged, numbers grew dramatically.

Earlier this year, Emmarentia, Greenside, Parkview, Craigpark, Parkhurst Residents Associations, the Parkhurst Residents and Business Owners Association together with the Parkview Community Policing Forum met and decided to prepare and submit a petition to the Executive Mayor and the City Manager of the City of Johannesburg. The petition called upon the above officials to urgently take action against and decisively address the illegal occupation, environmental destruction and social crisis at the Parkhurst Bowls & Soccer Club.

The petition has been acknowledged but no action has yet been taken. The Adjudication Committee of Council has selected a bidder.

Stakeholders are waiting with bated breath hoping that the City will engage with stakeholders so that a long-term solution can be found to satisfy all the different interests. We’ll keep you updated.


Rose Garden Gets Blooming Makeover

By Monique Verduyn

Visit the Emmarentia Botanical Gardens and you’ll see that it’s coming up roses. Led by the Gold Reef Rose Society (GRRS) and Ludwig’s Roses Egoli, community project “Let’s Make it Bloom Again” is restoring the historic rose gardens and aims to plant 4,000 roses to bring them back to life.

The project relies on donations and volunteers and over 250 roses have already been planted. GRRS has committed to annual pruning, and City Parks is helping with pruning and watering. Improving the irrigation system is a priority.

The City Parks team planting some of the donated roses

“Planting 4,000 roses is an ambitious goal and will take time,” says GRRS chairperson Barbara Wood. “We’re planting more roses as we secure donations and sponsors to complete each bed. Sizable contributions from an auditing firm and the Johannesburg Garden Club have already made a great difference. Sponsorships from businesses interested in funding a full bed of roses would help enormously. We also encourage schools that have a rose named for them to join our effort. Donations from residents are a big help too.”

Pruning is scheduled for the first week of August 2024 and community members are invited to lend a hand and support this wonderful environmental initiative.

Contact Barbara on goldreefrosesociety@gmail.com or WhatsApp her on 083 985 8632 to pledge your support!


Dam project begins

Finally, years late, the project to repair the top dam has begun. Initially approved in 2020, the plan was to fix Albert’s Farm dam and then move on to the top two dams in Emmarentia. COVID halted the project in its tracks.

In 2021, work was started on the Albert’s Farm dam which was leaking. It was ‘fixed’ but then started leaking again and had to be repaired again.

In 2022, even though the Emmarentia projects had been approved two years before, the department had to get approval for the money to be rolled over to the next financial year. It was approved in 2023, but with a much smaller budget. Now only the top dam will be done. Work was meant to start last year so the contractor only has until the end of June to try and complete it.

Contractors have begun to remove the invasive weed

The project will:

1. Desilt and drain the upper dam, remove vegetation and trees and reconstruct the dam wall

2. Reconstruct the slipway

3. Demolish the existing bridge at the mouth of the dam and construct a sand trap.

ERA is in contact with the contractor and will be watching over the construction. Email any questions for the contractor to info@era.org.za


Updates in brief

  • ERA closes water study on inflated water bills

In October last year, at the height of another water failure, ERA invited you all to submit your water bill details if you believed that air in the system was inflating your water bill.

Big thanks to residents Iqbal Bham and Aqueel Haji, who set up a google form for you all to add your details. Sadly not enough residents entered the details and even the data submitted was not conclusive so ERA decided to stop the study. See ERA closes water study – Emmarentia Residents Association for more.

Meanwhile WaterCAN, a network of citizen science activists advocating for clean, safe and sustainable water has launched its own study. If you would like to take part in WaterCAN‘s study, check WaterCAN asks public to help track water leaks and “billing for air” – WaterCAN 

  • Car guards Please support the 3 carguards with orange vests at the shops on Greenhill and on the slipway off Barry Hertzog next to Ocean Basket. Some of the shopkeepers are paying them to ensure that your shopping experience is a good one. Feedback so far is they are doing a good job.
  • Securing our infrastructure  ERA has asked major security companies in the area to submit quotations to secure the mini-subs (the brick structures) and the bigger TSS boxes on pavements. If you have suggestions of how these can be secured, please email us on info@era.org.za

Another major problem is with theft of copper cables at street poles. If you see something suspicious, call your security company, SAPS Parkview 071 675 6065 or report to City Power: 011 490 7900/ 7911/ 7553 or WhatsApp Number 083 579 4497 (text, location and photographs)

  • New security company in charge at Botanic Gardens

Mavee Security is the new security company in the park. So far reports are that they are locking and opening the gates on time, patrolling the park and radioing regularly to their manager. Please let us know of any problems experienced.

Official opening and closing times are 6am-6pm. Please try and adhere to these times: if you leave after 6pm, they have to work a longer shift which they are not paid for, they get home much later—some of the guards are women.


Telkom mast – learning for next time

The Telkom cell phone mast at 18 Marico Road is now up, many years after construction was originally begun illegally. The ground station is yet to be installed so the mast is not yet active, but will be imminently.

The process was defined by a “flagrant disregard for the correct application process, predatory identification of the site to take advantage of financially distressed homeowners while at the same time disregarding neighbours,” says ERA’s Rob Cass.

After neighbours attempted to undertake a legal process to prevent the mast from being built, Telkom, through their legal representatives, bullied the neighbours to submit and accept it.

Cass warns residents to be vigilant of project proposal signage and civil work which seems suspicious. “If the correct action is taken early enough it may be possible to prevent another mast going up in our area on private land. Building this kind of infrastructure on private land is unnecessary and only harms the neighbourhood.”

“The law around the erection of these masts is heavily in favour of the cell companies,” he says. “Due process is often ignored, and subsequently overlooked by the city”.

In the case of Marico Road, “it’s too late to prevent this site from being completed. Let this be a cautionary tale to all of us.”


New Mixed-Use Development in Emmarentia – Greenwood Square

‘Prepare for dust and noise’, says ERA’s Gemey Abrahams

The Mixed Use Development on Barry Hertzog Ave/Gleneagles Road and Linden Road, is gearing up to begin earthworks on site.

The developer has appointed the earthworks contractors and hopes to start later in March 2024. Expect large construction vehicles as a deep basement for parking must be excavated and dust and noise will arise. ERA will stay in touch with the designated Project Manager to get regular updates on their programme. 

An artist’s impression of the development


The development will comprise shops on the ground floor, facing onto Gleneagles Road with 86 apartments above. The shops will include SPAR as the anchor tenant.

The residential apartments were launched on site in February 2024 and include upmarket studios, two and three-bedroom units and facilities such as a gym, swimming pool and concierge service.


ERA submits proposal to adopt-a-park

Just four months ago, Emmarentia resident, Saber Manjoo, presented a proposal, to ERA’s AGM to adopt the green space below the Emmarentia Dam and stretching west along the Montgomery Spruit towards 5th Avenue.

The adopt-a-park process allows for the community to be recognised by the city as custodians of a park and enables them to undertake care, maintenance, and upgrade projects at the park. This process has proven successful in many of our neighbouring communities including George Hay Park in Parkview and several parks in Fairlands which have turned previously derelict parks into neat, clean, and now well-used spaces.

Project moves rapidly

We never thought that by now a detailed document would have been completed which extensively maps the area and outlines detailed tasks for the different sections. (see more details We need your support to Adopt a park – Emmarentia Residents Association (era.org.za)


ERA is hugely grateful to the volunteer team driven by Saber himself with architect Zayn Shaikh, water engineer Stuart Dunsmore and IT specialist Wolfgang Phoenix who have given many hours pro bono to this project and put together the proposal in record time.

We are also thrilled with the support we received at the public meeting in February and the close to 250 residents who have supported our petition to adopt the park. Thanks also to many of you who have offered your expertise and practical support going forward.

Watch out for requests for help at upcoming work parties. If you haven’t yet signed the petition in support of the project, please do so Botanical Garden Spruit Park Adoption Petition (google.com)

ERA will submit the proposal to City Parks by mid-March.


Huge thanks to:

  • Councillor Nicolene

who keeps us up to date with whichever crisis is happening: be it water,   power etc. etc. and helps wherever she can.

If you want to join the WhatsApp group that she manages (thanks too to Titus Judah, the administrator of the group) click the link WhatsApp Group Invite

Remember: first report problems and inform Nicolene in this format:

▶Your Name:
▶Your Number:
▶Address of issue:
▶Date when the issue happened:
▶Ref nr:
▶Short description:

  • All those that keep our suburb clean, and functional:
  • Happy Feet
  • Let’s Work
  • EG Potholes Group
  • Admins of all the WhatsApp groups
  • And many, many more that I may have forgotten to mention. All of you keep our heads up in these extremely stressful times.


Events: making sure residents are respected

ERA has been pleading with residents for many years to help us tackle events and the problems that arise so that residents’ voices are heard and respected. The numerous events in January and February this year tested us, especially the Godfest event (see below).

We are excited to report that Saber Manjoo has offered to help.

He has already met with Sandra Viljoen, the manager at Botanic Gardens and Vossie le Roux, the manager at Marks Park. “I wanted to get a better understanding of their operations and to work out mechanisms for us to communicate and work better together,” says Sabeer.

Botanic Gardens only allows four big events per year together with four separate weekends of the Linden Market in each quarter.

Sandra reported that the Godfest concert will not be allowed back because of their poor organisation and the very many complaints that were received from residents.

When it comes to Marks Park, manager Vossie le Roux told Saber that Marks Park cannot control the outside issues, e.g. parking. “However, I told her that wasn’t good enough. If Marks Park wants to raise funds to keep Marks Park open, it mustn’t impact residents negatively.”

He suggested that Marks Park be more proactive with the event organisers, eg. advise them to provide security, demarcate areas where parking is prohibited and on the day of the event, actively prevent illegal parking.

Vossie in turn “promised to provide details to us in advance and work with us to make the impact on the community more positive.”

Saber’s next step is to engage with SAPS and the City’s Joint Operations Committee (JOC) which is responsible for overseeing the City’s events. If anyone would like to help Saber, please e-mail info@era.org.za

Upcoming events

  • Botanic Gardens events 2024

Holds 4 big events annually + Linden Market (4 times a year – March, June, Aug/Sep, Nov/Dec)

4 Events for 2024

Godfest – held in February 2024

Liefde by die Dam – 3 August

Tribute – 9 August

There is a proposed booking for October but not yet confirmed

  • Marks Park events 2024

No limit on number of events

February: 1 road-race; 2 concerts

March: 1 road-race

April: 1 concert

June: 1 concert

July: 1 concert


Godfest concert angers residents

The first event of the year at Botanic Gardens was not a happy one for most of you. Such was your anger that resident Peter Volavsek and ERA’s Rob Cass created a Google survey form to allow you all to share your views of the event.

Almost 100 of you responded, more than 90 per cent of you negatively. The single biggest complaint related to the excessive volume of the event.

The other most common complaints related to:

  • the designated community liaison person was unresponsive to residents’ calls to address the excessive noise. So loud was it that one resident said: “I have a concert in my house”.
  • parking and traffic management was very poor on the streets around the park entrances causing disruptions to traffic,
  • there was a notable increase in littering, and
  • Some claimed that several criminal acts occurred after the event.

See here for the complete report https://era.org.za/2024/03/10/eras-godfest-survey/

Not opposed to every event

Even so, many of you said you were not opposed to musical events per se as long as they were well-managed with good traffic control and security. Recent concerts at Marks Park and the Motsepe Foundation race are examples of well-organized events that elicited only praise from residents.

ERA has asked Councillor Jonker to forward this report to JOC, the City committee in charge of events.

ERA’s recommendations:

  • Organisers must stipulate times of sound checks the day before and that they adhere to these times at all times
  • Organisers who fail to adhere to the conditions must be penalised e.g. not allowed to hold the function again at that venue; pay a fine to the venue
  • The City to provide a person to help monitor the sound if the event organiser disputes the level of noise being made.
  • ERA to be invited to the preparation meetings with SAPS, JMPD and the event organiser beforehand.
  • Event organisers comply with the City’s time frames and give advance notice of an event so that residents have time to prepare.

Let’s hope we see some improvement.


Ode to water in our pipes

Water, water, everywhere it seems,

Yet in Emmarentia, it’s but a dream,

For the pipes lie silent, without a sound,

No drop to drink, no life unbound.

The power fails, and darkness reigns,

No hum of pumps, no water gains,

Through streets and homes, the silence spreads,

As thirst unquenched, its hunger treads.

In Emmarentia, where waters wait,

Behind closed valves, in a dormant state,

The absence looms, a heavy weight,

As life stalls at the hands of fate.

But hope still flickers, in the dark of night,

For soon the power will regain its might,

And water will flow, once again,

To quench the thirst of every vein.

Anonymous: Emmarentia resident

With thanks to ChatGPT


Request for newsletter help

Monique Verduyn is our first resident to contribute a story to this newsletter. We welcome more. Keep them short and if you have, send a photo.

No printed issue this time as we received no advertising or sponsorship. If you’d like to help with the newsletter in any way, write a story, advertise etc. e-mail: info@era.org.za. Thank you all.


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