Municipal strikers allegedly cut water supply in Richmond

2009-07-31 00:00

RICHMOND residents were forced to go without water for four consecutive days this week and sources say striking municipal workers are to blame. Sources told The Witness that municipal strikers deliberately sabotaged the town’s water supply on Monday by puncturing Richmond’s main water pipe in three different places.

Residents who contacted The Witness on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimised said being forced to survive without water for four days is unacceptable.

“On contacting the municipality, they said they were aware of the problem and the supply would be resumed shortly. I got this response on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. [Yesterday they were] not answering their phones,” said a resident.

When The Witness phoned the Richmond Municipality’s switchboard number yesterday, it rang without being answered.

There were also complaints about the deplorable state of the town. “The streets look like a rubbish dump … these strikers have decorated the streets with this everyday during their march,” said a resident.

Richmond Municipality’s head of communications, Skhombiso Mthembu, agreed that the strikers were responsible for the filth. His municipal staffers at work were being intimidated by those on strike, so it was difficult for them to go out and clean the streets.

“Regarding the switchboard, I will get someone to man it so it will be operational shortly,” he said.

Mthembu said he could not comment about the town’s water supply as it falls under the function of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality.

Municipal manager in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality, S’bu Khuzwayo, told The Witness yesterday that to the best of his knowledge, the water situation had been addressed. “[The uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s technical services manager] went to Richmond to rectify it.”

When The Witness contacted a few Richmond residents yesterday afternoon to verify whether their water supply had been restored, they said a water tanker was brought in yesterday and by early evening water was starting to trickl­e through their taps.

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