WCED responds to criticism after school left without water

The City of Cape Town says its Water and Sanitation Department is conducting emergency repair work on a leaking water main in Philippi.

Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Pupils at Fairview Primary School in Grassy Park were sent home on Tuesday after the school was left without water.

This has left people concerned about whether this will become a regular occurrence and whether there are plans in place come day zero.

Community activist Michael Jacobs says proper communication from the City and the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) is needed.

“The closure of the school is unacceptable; the Education Department should have made arrangements. Kids should have been in school today. We ask authorities to communicate properly with our communities.”

The City of Cape Town says its Water and Sanitation Department is conducting emergency repair work on a leaking water main in Philippi.

The City's Farouk Robertson says other areas, including Ottery, Retreat, Wynberg and Southfield, were also affected.

“To work on that pipeline, you have to close some valves. When we closed some of those valves, it most likely affected the water supply. We have, however, managed to complete the work on the pipeline.”

The WCED has also responded with the department's Paddy Atwell saying a number of areas were without water in the metro south district on Tuesday.

"The city was working on a bulk water main in Philippi and schools were among those affected. The city has apologised the inconvenience."

He says schools have developed strategies to minimise disruption to tuition, where possible when there's no water.

"Parents collected children from Fairview Primary from 10 am after being informed via WhatsApp about the situation. The school did not allow children to leave on their own. There were still about 50 children at the school at noon. Teachers remained at the school."

He says the principal of the primary school arranged to truck in water from Bergvliet Primary early on Tuesday morning after assessing the water situation.

Atwell adds that all schools in the district have water security plans.

"They have shared these at a principals’ meeting and have to submit these to the district office by 2 March. The WCED and Department of Transport and Public Works are working with schools to install reticulated water tanks and boreholes, where required, as part of a comprehensive water security plan."

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)