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Water woes blot out back to school blues in Phoenix

Dry taps meant pupils at Solvista Secondary School in Phoenix were sent home early.
Dry taps meant pupils at Solvista Secondary School in Phoenix were sent home early.
Image: Chris Van Lennep

Teaching and learning was affected on the first day back at a Durban high school due to water supply problems.

Solvista Secondary School in Phoenix, north of Durban, issued a letter on Wednesday informing parents and guardians pupils would be sent home early on their first day after the Easter holidays because there was no water at the school.

“Please be advised that all grade 8-11 learners will be dismissed at 10.50am as there is no water at the school and we are unable to ascertain if it will return today [Wednesday],” the school said.

Grade 12 pupils will be dismissed at 2.30pm. Parents were asked to make travel arrangements to ensure the safety of pupils.

“We appeal to all parents/guardians to be understanding of this situation as the dynamic of the water crisis in unpredictable.”

Voice of Phoenix NPO executive member Vassie Govender told TimesLIVE there had been a steady flow of water in the area until Monday when services were cut for 24 hours.

He had received numerous queries about this, adding it was a huge inconvenience for all.

“It’s becoming untenable because children are losing valuable school time and parents are being inconvenienced by the last minute notices. Even if learners were to carry additional drinking water themselves, what about sanitation, when they need the toilet? There is also the safety of learners to consider and that’s another consequence of these challenges.”

As schools fall under provincial government, not local government, they should intervene by putting JoJo tanks in schools as an alternative because “it doesn’t look like this problem is getting sorted soon”.

The provincial education department didn't respond to queries.

Meanwhile, eThekwini municipality is back on load-shedding after the electricity unit managed to clear the backlog of outages that had been worsened by the illegal council workers' strike.

“The municipality acknowledges the need to reduce the electricity load to protect the national grid. Therefore, from April 3, the city will comply with the national load reduction requirement as and when implemented by Eskom,” said municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana.

Residents should consult Eskom’s load-shedding schedules and report outages outside the planned load-shedding times.

“If you are experiencing a power outage, either outside your schedule time or when load-shedding is not active, it is a result of a fault on the network and not because of load-shedding.

“Please report the power outage to the electricity call centre on the WhatsApp Chatbot, 076 791 2449, or call the toll free number 080 311 11 11, or email: Electricity.Faults@durban.gov.za.”


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