Three-year water battle of elderly Pomona couple sprinkles up

To bath and wash dishes, Hester van der Merwe (80) boils water in this pot. She says it takes a long time for her to boil enough water.

After an article in Express on Thursday, the water woes of an elderly couple in Pomona, who had little to no running water for almost three years due to lack of water pressure, had been relieved.

The metro attended to their problem and their water is better, despite the pressure not being up to standard.

When Express visited the couple, Hester van der Merwe (80) opened her kitchen tap to demonstrate. Water trickled into the sink until it finally stopped. She did not attempt to open the warm water tap, because she knew this would be fruitless.

Instead, she walked to a giant water tank outside where municipal water ran into. She returned carrying a filled 5l bucket, but not without effort. She struggles with back pain.

“I use these buckets to cook, to do the dishes, flush our toilets and to bath in,” she said, pointing at a giant silver pot in which she boiled water for baths. “You can imagine how long that takes,” she added.

These water woes have been going on since late 2016 but became worse when construction started on a reservoir on Dann Road last year.

Some people in the area have started using borehole water, but SASSA pensioners Hester and Fred (77) said they could not afford this.

“Why should we invest in a borehole if we already have water from the municipality?” Fred asked.

Hester van der Merwe (80) from Pomona, who has no running water, carries water from this tank to her home for all her water needs.

The couple’s daughter, Linda Minnaar (56), said she had taken her mother to the Kempton Park water and sanitation department and written multiple emails to complain, but nothing had been done.

Hester, a grandmother of 10 children and great-grandmother to 14, said she just wanted to open her tap and have running water again.

“The day that happens we will have a party with champagne,” her daughter added.

The City of Ekurhuleni failed to comment at the time of going to print.

Several people have contacted Express following this article. An update will follow in due course.

  AUTHOR
Paula-Ann Smit
Journalist

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