WATCH: Republic a severe water hazard

A river runs down Republic road as the burst pipe spurts water.

Residents were left without shelter due to a major burst pipe on Republic Road, near Queens Avenue.

Ward 98 Councillor, Laurette van Zijl, was on scene and explained the pipe burst early in the afternoon, around 1pm on 14 June. The burst pipe lay under the driveway to a complex, called Rinanda.

The driveway is mostly washed away, the bricks having been carried over to the other side of Republic Road with the water current. The road-facing flats in the complex are flooded, their front windows broken by the force of the water. Van Zijl explained that a single-bar water pressure could spurt water 10m in the air. The pipe that burst on Republic had a 12-bar water pressure.

Resident, Grashen Moyo said she had been woken from a nap by a roommate who heard the windows break. They soon realised they had to escape the rising water and threw a mattress off their balcony, to cushion their fall, before jumping off the balcony themselves. Moyo, dressed in a thin jersey, leggings and socks, did not have time to grab a jacket, let alone any valuables, and claims their property is ruined.

Johannesburg Water technicians were on scene from 5pm till 3am, having to fight back another surge that flooded the flats again before the water was switched off. Van Zijl confirmed that stakeholders of Rinanda had said they would move the residents and revamp the building.

According to Johannesburg Water, Bryanston, Ferndale, Beverly Gardens, Malanshof, Strijdom Park, Vandia Grove, Linden, Blairgowrie, Robindale and Darrenwood have been without water while repairs are underway but there is promise that water will be restored today.

Eleanor Mavimbela, Johannesburg Water external communications officer, released a statement which explained, “The pipe was repaired and not replaced. This was deemed the best possible option to immediately stop further water losses and inconvenience to road users and consumers. The size of the affected pipe is big and requires significant capital for replacement. Johannesburg Water is considering various funding options to cater for its replacement in the near future.”

“The source of the burst has not been established yet, however, the depot is expected to provide a report on the cause and amount of water lost after their investigation,” Mavimbela continued.

Van Zijl was able to assure residents that they would be able to claim damages from the City. In the meantime, the community has helped the devastated residents with food and shelter. However, while some tried to help out, Van Zijl said there must have been a thief around as a few residents claimed personal items, such as a passport, was stolen from a handbag that had been placed safely out of the water’s reach.

There is still debris on Republic Road and the nearest storm-water drain is swamped with bricks. Johannesburg Water released a statement which said, “Motorists are advised to drive with caution along the area or use alternative roads.”

Details: Johannesburg Water Head office, 011 688 1400.

Amy Ingram

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