Poor sanitary and hygiene conditions continue to plague Noswal Hall residents following yet another water service interruption over the last four days.
Jabulile Mabuza, resident of Noswal Hall and SRC campus services officer said “this [going without water] is a constant problem, it didn’t start now.” According to Mabuza, there was an instance in the first semester where the students spent five days without water.
Lucky Xazi, house committee chairperson at the residence described the situation as “a health issue as well as a hygienic issue”.
He said the Noswal corridors have a bad odour because of toilets that cannot be flushed and dirty dishes that have been unwashed since Friday.
Residents have to travel to main campus to use the toilet and some have showered at the Wits gym. Many other students have not bathed since the service interruption started.
No water means that some students are unable to cook for themselves and have to rely on store-bought food. “It strains our budget because some of us can’t afford take-aways,” Xazi said.
Noswall Hall management sent an sms to students on Sunday saying: “We apologise for the water supply shortage. We are working on fixing the problem and should have water restored soon. Noswal Management.”
Mabuza said she feels the university has not communicated adequately with students and this has led to a lot of frustration. “I don’t think it’s a total negligence of the university. I think somewhere somehow is trying to fix it … but students don’t know and are left in the dark, “she said.
According to Rob Sharman, head of residence life at Wits, the problem with the water supply at Noswal Hall is due to heat pumps that are unable to service 20 floors, and one of the pumps is not working.
At the townhall meeting with the vice-chancellor this afternoon, Prof Adam Habib addressed this issue and explained that Noswal Hall is owned by ZanProp and the university leases this building.
“It is unconscionable that we pay 100s of thousands of rands for their failure to deliver on something that is mandatorily their responsibility, “he said. Habib said they the university will take action against ZanProp and is looking at what penalties they might incur.