Protest intensifies as residents demand water

2014-08-02 00:00

PROTESTORS wreaked havoc in the KwaZulu-Natal interior yesterday, allegedly also cutting fibre optic cables. This was in the midst of the closure of a national road — the R103 between Ladysmith and Colenso — since last Monday.

The protest by Roosboom residents shows no signs of letting up. Yesterday, burning tyres and barricades were still in place, keeping the road inaccessible.

Telkom workers brought in to restore the Internet connection that went down after the cables were cut, had to carry out their task under police guard.

The protest was sparked by residents who demand the running water they claimed was promised 10 years ago, and again in 2011. Their anger is over water sources drying up and allegations of corruption involving the few water tankers that go into the area.

A protester, who did not want to be identified, said the Uthukela District Municipality — the water service provider for the area — has a large billboard saying, “Water is life”.

“We have no water yet the mayor Dudu Mazibuko spent R2,5 million on a football tournament called the Mayoral Cup. In December she spent R3 million on the Salga Games,” the protester said.

Mazibuko did not answer her phone yesterday.

The residents had handed a letter of demand to Emnambithi (Ladysmith) mayor Vincent Madlala. He addressed them yesterday, but could not give an undertaking on the provision of piped water to the area.

Police from Ladysmith, Newcastle, the Public Order Policing unit and the National Intervention Unit were called to the scene to try to restore calm.

DA MP Alf Lees, who lives in the Ladysmith area, has called on the provincial government to urgently step in to resolve the impasse.

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