THE biggest complaint about the latest water outage in Grahamstown was the lack of communication by municipal officials with angry residents and ratepayers.

The second lengthy outage in as many months comes despite interventions by President Jacob Zuma’s office to try and resolve the problem.

This was after Rhodes University wrote to the president to complain of a lack of communication by senior Makana municipal officials.

Although the problem with antiquated pumps seems to have been resolved and water again started trickling through taps, DA MPL Dacre Haddon yesterday said they were communicating directly with the presidency to try to get swifter action to resolve the crisis.

They suggested five “quick win” steps to solve the problem, including building a large reservoir to gravity-feed high lying homes and businesses; repairing and reconnecting a third water supply from Jameson Dam and Milner Dam after 400m of pipe was stolen; and upgrading 60-year-old pumps and introducing rainwater harvesting bylaws.

“The hot weather and lack of water due to failing infrastructure in Grahamstown and elsewhere in the province has left the door open for a health disaster.

“It will be the most vulnerable, especially people in informal settlements who will suffer from stomach ailments and typhoid because they do not enjoy the basic entitlement of proper sanitation,” Haddon warned.

Attempts to get comment from municipal manager Dr Pravine Naidoo, infrastructure head Thembinkosi Myalato and mayor Zamuxolo Peter proved fruitless. —