Water cuts denied

2014-11-06 00:00

THE South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has dared the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to prove its members were responsible for the alleged sabotage of water infrastructure and violence that engulfed the area recently.

This was in reply to the municipality’s application in the Labour Court in Durban for an interdict stopping their strike. The municipality blamed the union and its members for acts of sabotage where water supplies were cut off. The union was also blamed for acts of violence where the municipality’s legal adviser was assaulted and cars on council property were torched.

In Samwu’s responding affidavit, regional secretary Thabani Molefe said their members had not damaged infrastructure. He said the infrastructure was in a dilapidated state already, resulting in the erratic water supply residents experience.

He dared the municipality to find and punish those it believes were responsible.

Municipal manager Sibusiso Khuzwayo in an earlier affidavit had said the strike was illegal because the supply and distribution of water, as well as firefighting and work in the water-borne sewage division, were essential services. He said workers had set about cutting off the water supply in circumstances where there already was a water shortage.

Molefe said Khuzwayo’s allegations were unfounded and devoid of truth.

“It was unfair for uMgungundlovu to blame us for having cut the water supply when they have no evidence. It must be borne in mind that the applicant’s water supply system is ageing and warrants replacement. Due to the ageing nature of the water pipes, they are prone to cracks, leaks and breaking.

“It is rare that a day passes in the area in which a water pipe does not fail and does not require repair or replacement,” he said in an affidavit.

Samwu denied it had used trucks to block the entrances to municipal offices and that its members had burnt a car.

The union said a derelict car had been set alight, and they did not know who had set it alight and neither did the municipality.

They also denied that a municipal employee had been assaulted.

The union said it was not true they had shut down service delivery, saying complaints are common because of the ageing infrastructure.

Samwu said the municipality was nevertheless free to take steps against people who behaved in an untoward manner.

The case was postponed until November 27 when the matter is expected to be argued before a judge.

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