Court cleaning angers Rondebosch locals

An employee at the tennis club washing down the courts for a tournament.

With Level 5 water restrictions in full swing, several households were forced to tighten up and make the necessary efforts to save every drop to avoid being penalised by the City of Cape Town.

So when the Western Province Tennis Club in Rondebosch was spotted washing down one of its tennis courts, residents were alarmed that the club was not heeding the current water restrictions.

Rondebosch resident Jocelyn Snow witnessed the courts being washed down by an employee at the club and after informing the employee that they were wasting water, she was told: “I’m only doing my job ma’m”.

She said: “The water was gushing from this pipe and that were large amounts of water being wasted. I am sure they could have made a plan to use an alternative water source to wash a tennis court, but if everybody is trying to save water, what makes the tennis club so special?”

An eagle-eyed resident, who withheld her identity, snapped a photo of the employer washing down the courts and even contacted the club, who could provide her with no proper answers as to why so much water was being wasted.

The resident then contacted the City and ward councillor Ian Iversen to report the matter.

“I find it extremely worrying that the club is allowed to get away with such extensive water wastage. This guy was washing every angle of the court, not a care in the world about the fact that we are actually experiencing level 5 water restrictions. In other communities, the more disadvantaged ones, people would have their water cut off and handed huge fines,” the resident said.

Dam storage levels are currently at 37.2%, with useable water at 27.2%. Collective consumption is at 614 million litres of water a day. This is 114 million litres above the target of 500 million litres. The City is pulling out all stops to go after the water abusers.

Mr Iversen confirmed that reports were received regarding the concerns around water wastage at the club, which immediately prompted him to report the matter to the relevant department for an inspection to take place.

He initially called for the organisation to be prosecuted for their actions, but instead, the City’s water inspector, after conducting their inspection, were handed assurances by the tennis club that they would use an alternative water source in future.

Eddie Andrews, the Mayco member for area south, confirmed that the water inspectors visited the tennis club on Monday September 11. “The water inspector was told that it was a once-off incident as the tennis court had not been cleaned in years. The club said they had to clean the court ahead of a tournament as there was moss growing on the court and this could pose a risk to players. The club has assured the City that they will use an alternative water source in future,” Mr Andrews said.

He added that it should be noted that a water inspector could only act within the legal framework, for example, S54 and S56 of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act No. 51 of 1977). The S56 is subject to an admission of guilt fine, provided that the transgressor is caught in the act. “In this particular case, the attending water inspector did not catch the person in the act and could therefore not issue a fine. Furthermore, S54 relates to a summons to appear in court and requires a body of evidence to secure prosecution,” he said.

Mr Andrews said the complainant may submit an affidavit stating the facts of the matter so further action could be taken.

When the Tatler contacted the tennis club last week, they chose not to comment on the matter, but said they would do all they could to adhere to the water restrictions in future.