Nestled within South Hills on the unassuming Outspan Road, what initially appeared to be an innocuous concern swiftly evolved into an enduring source of exasperation for the local community.
Commencing as an inconspicuous water irregularity around the onset of last April, this matter transformed an ongoing narrative rife with frustration, tenacity, and a profound sense of civic duty.
Despite the geographic separation between Queenshaven Retirement Village and the predicament in question, the mantle of rectification was unreservedly assumed by Sarah Schoonwinkel, the vigilant overseer of the facilities and a dedicated community member. With an innate commitment to championing the cause, she illuminated the intricate challenges inherent in grappling with municipal entities while ardently advocating for a resolution to a predicament that appeared to have slipped through the bureaucratic crevices.
“The locus of this predicament might lie beyond the confines of our establishment, yet one cannot simply remain unaffected,” voiced Schoonwinkel, her words reverberating with a potent mixture of concern and responsibility.
These sentiments encapsulated the very core of the difficulty that besieged the residents along Outspan Road.
As the issue of water infiltration unfolded, it initially seemed plausible to attribute it to the aftermath of heavy rainfall, a common occurrence in a region blessed with copious precipitation. Nevertheless, the persistent nature of the water’s presence and its gradual progression along the thoroughfare offered an indisputable indication that a more profound issue lay in wait, as articulated by Schoonwinkel.
In her initial endeavour to procure a remedy, Schoonwinkel embarked on the path of electronic correspondence, contacting Johannesburg Water via email. The speed with which their response materialised led to a physical inspection by their utility team; this endeavour proved to be an exercise in futility.
“Despite having explicitly delineated the precise origin of the water, it appeared that the inspection team misconstrued the crucial details, fixating on an erroneous location and departing without tending to the heart of the issue. The electronic exchanges endured, my apprehensions found voice in numerous emails, and a collection of reference numbers amassed, yet the conundrum remained obstinate,” Schoonwinkel lamented.
The passage of months transmuted into an amalgamation of additional months, wherein the initial anomaly birthed a more pronounced cavity in the ground. This excavation, paradoxically, laid bare a perplexing contradiction: while no overt leak was detectable, the aftermath of heavy rainstorms invariably manifested in potholes, indisputably linked to the unresolved aquatic predicament.
With a growing sense of disillusionment spurred by the absence of any discernible action, Schoonwinkel exhaustively explored every available avenue. Be it electronic communique, telephonic interactions, or even the digital realm of social media, she cast her requests far and wide. A tweet intended to draw attention to this pressing concern regrettably echoed into a void devoid of response.
The consistent leak that initially had captured her attention had morphed into a distressing portrayal of neglect and inertia. Undeterred, Schoonwinkel persisted, eventually establishing contact with their local councillor, Faeeza Chame. Acknowledgement was forthcoming from Chame’s end, accompanied by assurances of updates to follow. However, the anticipated correspondence remained absent in the subsequent period, leaving Schoonwinkel’s endeavours seemingly trapped in a silent abyss.
Repeated interactions with Johannesburg Water unveiled a recurring pattern characterised by miscommunication. The shifting of accountability to the jurisdiction of Rand Water was countered resolutely by Schoonwinkel, asserting that the purview of this dilemma unequivocally rested within the domain of Johannesburg Water.
In her turn, Chame detailed her efforts to initiate communication with Johannesburg Water and the Johannesburg Road Agency (JRA), only to be met with an unyielding wall of silence.
“This ceaseless stream of water has persisted for a considerable span of months. Personally, I undertook the task of escorting Johannesburg Water representatives to the site, affording them a firsthand view of the extent of the affliction. Regrettably, the trajectory of events post that juncture has been one of stagnation and inaction,” Chame lamented.
In a concerted effort to unearth answers, The Comaro Chronicle undertook a series of endeavours. Emails were dispatched, phone lines engaged, all in a quest to establish a line of communication with Johannesburg Water. However, the publication’s diligent pursuits bore no fruit, as the silence from the water authority remained resolute.
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Photo: Supplied by Southern Courier