Thank you Martin Taylor for being a Water Sector Hero!

Intro: Martin Taylor is an experienced superintendent with more than 30 years in the water treatment industry. He manages a number of plants in the Gansbaai area. He is very dedicated to his role and frequently visits and encourages other team members. Martin knows the area well and is also aware of the various plants and their operational conditions. He plays an integral part in fast communication to deliver service of a high standard to the community and our client. Martin also managed and overseen the emergency repair of the Kraaibosch dam intake amid lock down conditions.

Martin tells us about his thoughts and experiences during the lockdown:

A Typical Day at Work During the “Lockdown”

It is Easter weekend. (the “lockdown is already 15 days old) Four days at home. This is usually a welcome break and looked forward to too with anticipation. But somehow this year it’s different. You manage to laze away the four days or keep yourself occupied in one way or another. With bitter / sweet anxiousness you actually can’t wait to get back to work on Tuesday. You somehow feel priviledged that you can leave the house.

So you leave for the office. After being stopped in a roadblock, you present your necessary travel permit and you are allowed to proceed. You arrive at the office. The mood of your workmates is rather somber. We all look rather comical with our facemasks on, surgical gloves and bottles of sanitizers sticking out of our pockets. To the point where you want to laugh at each other but we all understand the seriousness and necessity of the situation. Most conversation revolves around the “lockdown” and the irritations and frustrations that go with it. Anyway down to the business of water purification. You need to focus but the best that you can maybe do is concentrate for short periods of time as this Covid-19 thing is continually playing in the back of your mind. You are all concerned about each other. Headcounts and general observations of the staff are done every morning and reported to the Operations Manager and HR. This is done via a WhatsApp group to eliminate personal contact “Social Distancing” is strictly adhered to. Inspections of the plants and other infrastructure are completed. Quality standards are measured and controlled as usual. You check your e-mails. There are a few but nothing like the volumes that you are used to. All regular pre-scheduled meetings have been cancelled. How do I fill my day up? I take a drive to some of the satellite stations for general inspections. This helps to pass some time. You return to your office and find that some lonesome electrician or fitter has arrived to do some necessary maintenance. Most of the time it is a quick fix or temporary repair as spares are hard to come by during the lockdown period. It is approaching 16h30. Time to go home. By some bizarre manner you actually wish that your workday was a bit longer because you have been “free” all day and now your going home to be locked down again. So surreal. Tomorrow we will do it all again…

An observation from my side. Over the years, radio stations, television and social media always thank and show appreciation to “essential workers” over periods of festivities, extended holiday and public holidays etc. The “essential workers” that are always mentioned are Policemen, Nurses, Doctors, Traffic Officials and Firefighters etc. I agree, they are appreciated. But I have never ever heard any mention of the thousands of “essential workers” that are involved with Water Purification and Wastewater Purification and the distribution and collection thereof. I would like to thank each and everyone of my colleagues that have shown their dedication and for the sacrifices that they have made over the years during these times and which they will do into the future. You are all true heroes. Thank You.

I wish you all strength and patience. May God be with us and protect each and everyone of us.  – Martin Taylor

– Submission by Ruth Weideman