Vulamehlo residents to march for water

2012-06-04 00:00

ANGRY residents in Vulamehlo Municipality near Scottburgh, who have not had piped water since October 2011, will march from the tribal court to the municipal offices in Dududu today.

The marchers will hand over a memorandum to Msizi Zulu, the municipal manager, demanding that their water services improve.

Community spokesperson Lulu Memela said the residents had had enough and they were tired of the excuses. “There have been interruptions in our water supply for many years. Since last year we have not had a single drop of water coming out of our taps.”

Memela said that water tankers were commissioned to operate only on Wednesdays.

“The tankers only come once a week. Some areas do not even get that water because the tankers cannot complete the area in a day. So in some areas people go without water for long periods of time.

“Our children are not allowed to drink water at the schools because whatever water they have there is to be used for cooking. We can’t live like this anymore.”

Residents are forced to look for other sources of water. “There are some people who have boreholes and are selling 20 litres of water for R2. This water isn’t even tested to see if it is safe, but residents have no option.”

“We are tired of the excuses. They keep telling us that the Durban water supply is not sending water to our valves. They are paying so much for the tankers, why don’t they put in a permanent solution to the problem?” Memela asked.

Ugu District Municipality is responsible for providing water and sanitation to its local municipalities, including Vulamehlo. In March Ugu’s former spokesperson, Lindani Mzotho, told The Witness that Ugu worked with other municipalities and organisations like Umgeni Water to supply cross-border communities such as Dududu.

At the time Mzotho said the reason for the intermittent supply was due to the bulk supplier experiencing increased demand in its area. He added that a R70 million water works project in Umzinto would be completed in April as a permanent solution to the water crisis in the area.

“The project has been under implementation for the last three years and we are currently in the last phase of the project implementation with the bulk pipeline to serve Dududu set to be completed by April 2012,” he said.

More than a month later, residents in Vulamehlo still have no water.

No comment was forthcoming from Ugu at the time of going to press.

Zulu said: “I was told by Ugu that the project will be completed very soon and the delay is due to something very small. There was some land issue on a piece of property where a pipe had to be laid. Once that is sorted out we will have running water again.”

Zulu denied that he had an interest in the tanker service that supplies water to the area.

Two sources close to the municipality told The Witness that four tanker services were initially given tenders to serve the municipality. Three services had their tenders withdrawn, they said, and only the service allegedly linked to Zulu continued to operate in the municipality.

“That is absolutely false. There were two services. One could no longer function to maintain the service,” Zulu said.

• witness@feveronline.co.za

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