Fight in water queue forces Cape Town to crack down

31 January 2018 - 08:57 By Dave Chambers
IN DEEP WATER: People queue to fill up water bottles at Muizenberg spring in Cape Town.
IN DEEP WATER: People queue to fill up water bottles at Muizenberg spring in Cape Town.
Image: Esa Alexander

Guards are being posted at a popular Cape Town spring after an outbreak of fisticuffs.

In a sign of rising tension over access to the city’s dwindling water supply‚ one of the people involved in a fight this week at Newlands Spring was arrested.

JP Smith‚ the City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security‚ said the growing number of people trying to collect water at the spring — at the end of Springs Way‚ a cul-de-sac — was creating massive congestion.

“The surrounding neighbours and particularly the adjacent old-age home are also being adversely affected‚” he said.

“The congestion and noise from cars and persons visiting the site at all hours of the day and night is causing many complaints from the surrounding community.”

Smith said that from Thursday‚ city council law enforcement officers would manage the spring 24 hours a day. Traffic cops would also be there to manage congestion and parking‚ and vehicles would not be allowed in after 10pm or before 7am.

“A venue operations centre will be established and personnel will be posted at this site 24 hours a day to ensure that it is managed optimally and that people are safe‚” said Smith.

“In the interest of speeding up the queues and allowing everybody fair access to the spring water‚ each person will be requested to only fill containers of up to 25 litres at a time to ensure that no one person holds up the queue.”

Smith said some people visiting the spring had been collecting hundreds of litres at a time‚ and it had become clear that keeping the spring open was not sustainable.

“In the next month we will be rerouting the spring water from this spring to the Newlands swimming pool site 700 metres down the road‚ which is located on Main Road and which has much better parking and space available‚” he said.

“This location is far easier to access and has ample parking‚ and will allow for easier management as well as faster and more convenient access for all people collecting water.”