Port Elizabeth – Businesses in East London estimate they have lost at least R460 million due to the city’s waters woes.
The water issues have left large areas with little to no water for most of this week.
Parts of the metro have been without water since Monday and by Wednesday morning the metro was trucking in water tankers to hospitals and old age homes.
Executive Director at the Border-Kei Chamber of Business, Les Holbrook said that the loss estimated was for just a half day’s work, and based on a survey conducted by chamber members. Holbrook said that the chamber had 700 members which included small to large enterprises.
Municipality spokesperson, Thanduxolo Matebese, said on Wednesday that technicians were busy putting in place a bypass pipe around the Umzonyana holding dam, to provide supply to the treatment works.
It is estimated that it will take three to six days to get the Metro’s water system fully functional again.
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Holbrook said that most of the process industries or manufacturing companies such as Mercedes Benz could not function. “When you have 3 000 employees and you can’t flush a toilet it’s a problem.
Members are talking about long term and short term affects, namely cancelling orders, reputation management, risk and loss in terms of tanks and cleaning out machinery,” said Holbrook.
“The challenge is how do we deal with the risk? We have tankers running all over town. We used to a situation where we have no electricity, but we are not used to having no water, water is critical.”
Holbrook said a major issue was the lack of communication in that businesses had had no warning there would be no water.
“It’s a major problem, at least if we knew about it before hand we could mitigate a plan. There is a need for us to have clear communication.”
“The main thing is that we don’t know the extent of the interruption and when it’s going to end. In some parts there is no water and in other parts it’s muddy,” he said.