Norvic students claim management has gone deaf to their complaints about a lack of hot water. Image by: Zinhle Tshabalala

WITSIES staying at South Point (Norvic) say they are being ripped off because they hardly ever have hot water.
BA student Anna Tladi said there was no hot water at all on the morning of Wednesday August 29. She said they complained about the problem to the building manager, but he told them to report the matter to the security guard and write the complaint in the log book.
Tladi said the security guard told them not to write the complaint down because someone else had already noted it. At other times, she said he told them the problem was in the process of being fixed.
The building manager, who would only give his name as Trust, disputed this. He said students did not tell him about the lack of hot water. “How are we supposed to know about this problem if they don’t tell us?”
“I stay here at the Norvic building and I have my own geyser upstairs and the water is hot 24/7. So how am I supposed to know that students don’t have hot water?”
The security guard claimed students only started writing in the log book after they threatened to go on strike and take their complaint to the head office at South Point Central. He told them they would need proof that they had complained and nothing had been done, he said.
The building manager said only one student had complained about the water. He and the security guard showed Wits Vuvuzela the log book, where two written complaints had been entered during the past two months.
One complaint read: “The problem is that when we wake up before 7am there is no hot water. It only begins to heat up later. This is unacceptable because it’s winter.”
According to Tladi the students had a meeting about the problem and asked: “How many times must we write in the book in order for the problem to be fixed?”
When she had class at 8am, she woke at 1am to bath with hot water. “Between 1am and 4am the water is hot, but from 5am it’s lukewarm, but after 6am the water is cold.”
Kabelo Makgala, projects and facilities manager said he was aware of the problem. However, he said the students were exaggerating the issue. The problem was a common household issue.
He said the geysers at South Point carried about 4000 to 8000 litres of water, which took up to three hours to heat up. He explained that, if 300 students showered at the same time, the hot water would be depleted. A heat pump had been installed to assist the geyser to heat up the water all day.
Earlier this year Wits Vuvuzela reported that students at Diamond House were complaining about the lack of hot water or no water at all. Last year there was a water shortage at three South Point buildings in Braamfontein.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 22th edition, 31 August 2012