Water supplies restored as reservoirs fill

NOTE: Article first appeared on The Citizen website on September 16, 2014. 

Water supply has been sporadic or non-existent in parts of Johannesburg and the West Rand over the past two days.

Democratic Alliance ward councillor Amanda Forsythe received calls from residents reporting “ first  low water pressure and then others saying they had completely ran out of water”.

Forsythe contacted Johannesburg Water, who informed her that the Rand Water reservoirs had ran out of water due to an extensive power outage.

FILE PICTURE: A resident fills her bucket with water from a tap. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA
FILE PICTURE: A resident fills her bucket with water from a tap. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg Water spokesperson, Justice Mohale said: “The interruption was caused by the power outage in the Eikenhof area, which resulted in Rand Water unable to pump water from its Eikenhof Pumping station to the Meredale Reservoir, which supplies Joburg Water.”

Affected areas included the south-western part of Johannesburg and northern suburbs including Emmarentia, Greenside, Melville and Parktown. Restoration of water supply began yesterday afternoon but because of the size of the reservoirs, it took a few hours. Forsythe said water was restored to most residents by 10pm last night, but that there were some glitches.

“Some people had water on for a while last night and then this morning had nothing, but I believe water has been fully restored now,” Forsythe said.

Considering the extent of the water interruption, Forsythe said: “Those reservoirs are huge. The power outage must have lasted a day or so. They even have back-up generators, but those also ran out of power because of the high demand for water.”


Wits Vuvuzela Victory

Shandukani Mulaudzi

Wits VuvuWits Vuvu

Read article here: http://witsvuvuzela.com/2013/10/16/wits-vuvuzela-wins-top-prize/

We are officially a group of award winning journalists. Today the Wits Vuvuzela team was informed that we have been awarded the Vice Chancellor’s team award for transformation.

The team wins R20 000 to further our efforts towards transformation (Damn! We thought we’d pocket a R1000 each nyana :”D).

This year has had its ups and downs and writing these stories on sexual harassment was a challenge.

We had arguments about whether to publish names or not, we had arguments about when to draw the line and we had challenges regarding when to wait for our print edition and when to avoid getting scooped by mainstream media and go with what we had and break stories online.

Another challenge we faced was people within the university either refusing to speak to us, giving us the run-around or saying they are legally bound not to speak to…

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Trayvon Martin and Making Whiteness Visible

The truth in this.


If there is one hopeful note amid all the anguish and recrimination from the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it’s that growing numbers of white people have come to appreciate whiteness for what it is: an unearned set of privileges. And as a result of that dawning awareness, it’s become possible to imagine a day when that structure of privilege is dismantled — by white people.

Recall that immediately after the killing of Trayvon Martin, people of every race took to the Internet to declare “I am Trayvon Martin.” They wore hoodies. They proclaimed solidarity. That was a well-meaning and earnest attempt to express empathy, but it also obscured the core issue, which is that Martin died not because he was wearing a hoodie but because he was wearing a hoodie while black. Blackness was the fatal variable.

(MORE: Maya Angelou Reacts to Zimmerman Trial, Evokes Civil Rights Era)

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A healthy dose of reality

Fifth year Wits medical students have learnt some harsh lessons about the conditions at public hospitals this year, after doing their practicals at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.


“The shortage of resources and supplies is a real concern for me,” said Massillon Phasha. Doctors had to improvise and work with whatever was available, she said, because they did not have the necessary equipment and medicine. This meant patients did not get the best treatment possible.

“The lab tests one can request are limited and results for specimens sent for pathology assessment take a long time to get back. All these factors largely influence the management of the patients.

Concerns voiced

“I have voiced my concerns to the doctors, but unfortunately there is not much that they can do about it because this is largely due to shortage of funds. So unless we can get the government to give the hospitals more money, there is almost nothing we can do,” said Pasha.

Keabetsoe Phello said she had never voiced her concerns as she was too scared.

Daily activities

Medical students go to the academic hospital as part of their fifth year studies, but do not manage patients.

“We help where we can under supervision from a doctor, but our duty in the hospital is to learn,” said Pasha.

On a typical day the students do everything from being tutored by doctors on specific subjects to running basic diagnostic tests, and they could even assist in delivering a baby, depending what rounds they are doing that day.

Despite the poor conditions, students appreciate the learning experience. Pasha said she was grateful to be at Charlotte Maxeke because she was able to learn a lot. She said she believed the doctors were doing their best despite the difficult working conditions.

Phello said she loved being part of a team and getting a “sneak peak as to what life after med school entails”.

All hospitals had problems when it came to resources and facilities, she said. But despite these, and the fact that medical students work hard, with no pay, she still loved her job.

“I could never imagine myself doing anything else. In some cases we do almost the same amount of work as the interns, yet we do not get paid. And some other medical disciplines, pharmacy and nurses to name a few, get paid a wage for working.”

The students will be stationed at the hospital until November 2014.

Another blog… Really…

Well yes, I have started another wee blog. Why? To separate my different selves I suppose. I will use this one to document my journey through my honours year. What I consider to be the year that makes me the writer and journalist I should be.

I will refrain from being overly emotional (or try to) and try to keep things as ‘PG’ as possible.

I am two weeks into the Journalism programme at Wits and already I can tell it is going to be a very long year. Long but fulfilling. It has already been a lot of fun because of the amazing classmates I have. I really cannot wait to get to know them better and form lifelong friendships.

I look forward to this new part of my life and hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing it with you.

Ok-thanks-bye 🙂

Pheladi Sethusa