The Gautrain station in Sandton is getting its toilets back – but coffee-drinkers and shop owners are on their own
- Gautrain operator the Bombela Concession Company and the City of Johannesburg have reached an agreement to restore water to the Sandton Gautrain station.
- The station will now have a separate water meter, bypassing its landlord in paying for water.
- But others that share the building – such as the shops attached to the train station – will apparently remain without water until an outstanding R8 million utilities bill is paid.
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The operator of the Gautrain, the Bombela Concession Company, has reached an agreement with the City of Johannesburg that will see running water restored to the Sandton Gautrain station after three dry weeks.
Commuters have been sharing mobile toilets at the station in the heart of "the richest square mile in Africa" during the water outage.
The deal will see Bombela pay directly for water used in the station, bypassing landlord Cedar Park Properties, which the city says had failed to pay its utilities bill for six years.
Cedar Park is linked to Regiments Capital, which in turn is linked to the Gupta family.
According to the City, Cedar Park has never paid municipal rates and services after the registration of the property in its name in 2013, other than R600,000 last year. The station's utilities bill had ballooned to R8 million by the end of July 2019, so its water was cut off.
Read also: Portable toilets to the rescue for Sandton Gautrain commuters – as water cuts bring its landlord to the table
Cedar Park approached the high court in Johannesburg with an urgent application to have the water switched back on. The application was placed on hold until the landlord could secure a R1 million security for costs, which it has now apparently done.
But commuters will not have to wait for that process to play out.
"Sandton Gautrain station will be provided with its own water meter and we will be billing them directly going forward," said mayoral spokesperson, Tony Taverna-Turisan.
That will save the Gautrain operator the cost of continuing to hire mobile toilets, which Business Insider South Africa estimates has cost it over R50,000 to date.
Coffee shops, restaurants and other stores that share the station's spaces, however, are on their own; they will remain attached to Cedar Park's municipal bill.
"We are unapologetic for cutting the water supply to the property and the taps will remain dry until Cedar Park settles their debt with the City," said Taverna-Turisan.
Bombela will pay the city R120,000 for the new water connection and associated installation costs.
The concession company did not respond to questions from Business Insider SA.
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