Sabotage claimed: vandals wreck water pipes with pickaxes

2011-01-18 00:00

WHILE Ladysmith is recovering from recent floods that left about 100 houses damaged in two weeks, vandals have damaged six concrete water pipes in various parts of Ezakheni.

This has left the township’s C-Section without water since Thursday.

Uthukela District Municipality, which is responsible for water services, has offered a R20 000 reward to anyone with information that will lead to the conviction of the vandals.

Uthukela water services manager Stanley Dladla told The Witness yesterday that he does not rule out sabotage by political opponents in an attempt to discredit Uthukela in the run-up to local government elections.

“As we were busy repairing the pump stations after the floods people started breaking our pipes using pickaxes. Now we are sitting with a problem where people residing at the upper parts of the township (Ezakheni) have no water.

The pipes are 600 mm in diameter.

“We have been fixing the pipes since Friday. It is likely that this act is for political gain for political opponents,” said the former Inkatha Freedom Party leader who had resigned from politics.

He said a case of vandalism was opened on Friday and Ezakheni police were given leads after people identified individuals who are thought to be involved in the vandalism.

In the past, huge stones, metal plates and other foreign objects were retrieved from the drains and this has led to municipal officials believing that political opponents are sabotaging water services to make the municipality look bad.

“This is sad because it’s the poor people who suffer while politicians use devious means to stall service delivery. We need to put people first, and then political ambitions last,” said Dladla.

Water systems are in full operation since the clean-up after the floods, but Dladla said the breaking of pipes is a problem as no water can be pumped into the affected area.

The cost to fix the pipes will be determined after the work has been done. It is expected to run into hundreds of thousands of rands.

C-Section residents are angry and demand that those responsible be dealt with harshly.

A resident who asked not to be named said, “These people must stop interfering with service delivery and fight their political battles without us having to suffer…”

TEXT BOX

Meanwhile SAPA reports that a national state of disaster would be declared in seven provinces covering 28 municipalities, Co-operative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka announced on Monday.

In terms of the Disaster Management Act, he would recommend that a government Gazette be issued to declare a National State of Disaster covering the areas.

The areas listed in Kwazulu-Natal were the UThukela- , iLembe-, Sisonke-Amajuba- and Ugu district municipalities and Ethekwini Metro.

The areas earmarked in Gauteng include the Sedibeng and West Rand district municipalities, the Tshwane Metropolitan, City of Johannesburg and the Ekurhuleni Metro.

In the Free State the Fezile Dabi- , Xhariep- and Thabo Mofutsanyana district municipalities would be declared disaster areas, and in Mpumalanga the Nkangala and Ehlanzeni district municipalities.

In North West, the Dr Ruth Sekgomotse Mompati -, Dr Kenneth Kaunda -, Ngaka Modiri Molema- and Bojanala district municipalities were listed.

In the Northern Cape, the district municipalities of Frances Baard, Siyanda, Prixley kaSeme and Namakwa were down for disaster relieve, and in Limpopo the Mopani -, Sekhukhune- , Waterberg- and Vhembe municipalities.

The National Disaster Management Centre noted that more than 6000 people nationally had been displaced by the floods and other incidents of natural disasters.

Some 40 people lost their lives.

Damage so far amounted to about R356 million in three provinces alone. Assessments were still being done in the other provinces.

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