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Minister defends Rand Water

Despite being slammed by Gauteng residents, Nomvula Mokonyane has defended how the water issue was handled.

FILE: Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and parts of Pretoria have been affected by water shortages. Picture: Free Images

JOHANNESBURG - While Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has announced that water has been restored to all affected areas, Gauteng residents have criticised Rand Water for its handling of the crisis.

Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements Jacob Mamabolo indicated that government says the utility should be praised for the urgency with which it handled disruptions.

Affected areas in the province included Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and parts of Pretoria.

Some experts have largely pointed fingers at Rand Water engineers, calling them "inexperienced" for being unable to deal with a technical glitch that led to water interruptions.

Mokonyane had a stern rebuttal.

"With due respect on our learned friends, part of what we need to appreciate is the capacity and the intentions of good men and women in the sector."

The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department has refuted claims that water has ever been rationed in Gauteng.

With some areas having entered a third week of interruptions now, Rand Water had decided to close its valves in certain areas in order to accommodate suburbs where taps had run dry.

But Mokonyane yesterday announced that supply has been restored in Gauteng.

Last week Rand Water announced that it will ration its supply in a desperate attempt to restore water supply in areas affected by ongoing disruptions.

But Mamabolo says it was load shifting and not rationing.

"It's just what we saying with what's in our reservoirs, to take part of that to areas that do not have water."

Mamabolo says the call centre has worked well and says the complaints dwindled which means the problem has clearly resolved.

At the same time, Rand Water has urged the public to use water sparingly in order to allow reservoirs to fill and water pressure to return to normal.