• Johannesburg is preparing for a 54-hour water shutdown next week.
  • Water may be available some of the time – but businesses are taking no chances.
  • Some portable toilet companies have already run out of stock.
  • Companies are spending more than R100,000 for the three days to make sure staff have somewhere to go to the toilet. 
  • Visit Business Insider South Africa’s homepage for more stories.

Gauteng portable toilet owners have their hands full trying to keep up with with demand as Johannesburg prepares for a 54-hour water shutdown from Monday.

“One minute we are sitting here doing nothing and next thing you know we are turning people away, because of the demand.” says Jay de Jongh, the owner of Fancy Flush Toilet Hire.

De Jongh told Business Insider South Africa he is more prepared for this water outage than he was for previous, emergency shutdowns – and so are his clients.

The water shutdown is as a result of the installation of a huge valve, which will interrupt supply as a major pipeline is shut down. Joburg Water and its supplier Rand Water say the outage should only be partial, with only high-lying areas likely to see pipes run entirely dry, but many are taking precautionary measures anyway. 

“We have been getting orders for drinking water since Monday,” says Brenda Vrese, Oasis Water franchise owner in Roodepoort. According to Vrese, her 5L bottles are flying off the shelves, with a growing demand for her 25L bottles as well.

“We generally also sell them in combos of 4, and those combos are also flying off the shelf,” she says. The price of a single 5L bottle is R18.80, with the 25L going for R220.

Port-a-loos are on standby

“We’ve seen our demand go up since Tuesday,” says Sade Topers, acting manager at Mr Loo Hires in Heriotdale, east of Johannesburg.

“As a result we have our drivers ready to start driving out at 6AM on Monday to supply companies with toilets.”

The company’s standalone portable toilets costs between R450 and R800 to rent per day, while fancier portable trailers (with a male and female toilet each) go for between R,1800 to R2,600 per unit per day.

Fancy Flush Toilet Hire typically supplies companies with sets of eight portable toilets at a time, at a cost of between R11,000 and R19,000 for the three days of the expected outage. Users who opt for the high-end trailer-mounted units can expect to pay between R43,000 and R166,000 for the 54-hour window – excluding delivery. 

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