Tempers fray at Cape Town water collection point

File: Government officials in KwaZulu-Natal have urged Vryheid locals not to drink tap water.

File: Government officials in KwaZulu-Natal have urged Vryheid locals not to drink tap water.


CAPE TOWN - Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In the midst of the Western Cape&39;s worst drought in over a century, tempers frayed at a South African Breweries (SAB) spring in Newlands, Cape Town where water is available to the public for free.

This has led to the brewery limiting the spring&39;s opening hours and bringing in extra security because some Capetonians are taking more than their fair share.

“We&39;ve had instances where a lot of people have come in with big containers and abused it for commercial use, which is why we put that sign up. It is getting busy here at the moment and we&39;re going to have to look at how do we get better at sticking to the 25-litre limit," said SAB brewery manager, John Stenslunde.

READ: France offers Western Cape help with drought

Stenslunde said security measures are in place due to the water collection point attracting late-night criminality.

"We have had three and four of those incidents and we have acted on that. In addition, at that time, we have people coming and taking large amounts of water for commercial use.

"We have made a call to close it between 11 pm and 5 pm from a safety point of view. We also can’t have security guards for 24 hours. Tempers do fray here and we have a security guard, people do abuse them and give them a hard time in terms of being asked to stick to limit. In fact the other day we had an incident of fisting cuffs here."

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And with long queues, residents have witnessed some heated water wars.

"There was a guy here who came with a java tank on a trailer and the security said, no ways it can’t happen,” said one resident.

"It was hectic, like these people coming here and you know we all come here for the water and they were having a fight because the one was taking too long at the taps filling up. They can&39;t wait, people get impatient as well," said another. 

The brewery said it will be working with the city in the new year as Cape Town gets closer to Day Zero, the date upon which taps are set to run dry.