Water crisis resolved

2014-10-06 00:00

HILTON’s water crisis was finally resolved by Saturday. The hardest hit were residents in vicinity of the Summit and Quarry Road areas who were without water for more 70 hours because of several burst pipes.

There were sighs of relief late on Friday afternoon when it was announced that the four-day long strike by SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) had ended. The strike was marred by allegations of “water sabotage”.

Residents in at least six municipalities served by the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) experienced water outages during the strike. It was alleged that water valves had been closed.

Chairperson of the Hilton Ratepayers Association Colin Johnston said yesterday that the Summit Road burst pipe was not related to vandalism but because of a fracture in the ageing pipe.

However, by Friday there were another two breaks in the same pipe, prolonging the agony for surrounding residents. As soon as the strike ended, the municipal workforce were in Hilton working through Friday night. Water was eventually restored on Saturday.

UMDM spokesperson Mbali Ndlovu said the workers decided to suspend their strike after the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) accepted their memorandum of demands.

Ndlovu apologised for the huge inconvenience that residents experienced over the past week.

Hilton residents voiced their frustration on the Hilton Ratepayers Associations Facebook page.

It seems much of the fury was over water tankers not arriving. A tanker destined for the Quarry Centre ended up going to one of the outlying areas. The tanker only arrived at the centre in the afternoon.

Councillor Moira Grueneberg, who sits on the UMDM council, was posting frantic messages letting residents know of the whereabouts of the tanker. Her update on Friday afternoon read: “The water tanker has arrived and is parked at the BP Garage at the Quarry shopping centre.”

Ezemvelo staff members at 225 Old Howick Road also called The Witness to complain about a three-week-old water leak that is yet to be repaired. When The Witness visited the area, water was gushing out and had formed a stream. However, while we were there, some of the returning strikers arrived to work on the problem.

Meanwhile, residents in Napierville experienced water shortages on Friday, allegedly due to stolen water pipes from a reservoir supplying the area.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha confirmed this and said their staff were working to fix the problem.

She said they had sent water tankers to assist residents while the problem was being fixed.

Mafumbatha said rubbish collection in the city had also resumed. It had been disrupted because of a go-slow by drivers in the refuse collection section. The drivers were unhappy because they had not been shortlisted for permanent driver positions. However, municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi had said the process had not been completed.

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