Water war brewing in Imbali Unit BB

2016-09-14 06:00
PHOTOS: nokuthula khanyile Residents barricade the road with rocks and burning tyres.

PHOTOS: nokuthula khanyile Residents barricade the road with rocks and burning tyres.

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IRATE residents barricaded entrances to Imbali Unit BB on Monday morning protesting over the lack of water there.

Demonstrators who barricaded roads with rocks and burning tyres said water supply had run dry from February and in some areas in April.

Areas that have been the most effected include Upper BB, BB4, Unit 14 and BB5.

“We have had dry taps since February in BB4, sometimes the water tanker doesn’t come into the area for days. Where are we expected to get water from? Our children are getting sick yet other areas like Unit 18 and Unit 2 have water,” said an angry resident.

Residents said they decided to take their grievances to the streets after finding out their taps were, allegedly, being shut off deliberately.

“On Friday we found out the company that has been hired to dispatch water in the area is controlling the water supply.

“We decided to take it upon ourselves to open the water tank valves for supply, but on Saturday morning the water was cut again. We are convinced there is water, it’s just being tampered with deliberately.”

Another resident said if there was a shortage of water there would be a water-shedding schedule.

“We understand that with the drought we would have water shortages every now and then, but why is there no water-shedding schedule in place like how Eskom did with the load shedding?

“Why are we the only area that is being starved of water. We don’t understand how we cannot have water yet we share the same reservoir with other areas that have water. We want the new mayor and Brenden Sivparsad [Msunduzi Water and Sanitation manager] to come and explain to us how that is possible.

“We suspect this is being done on purpose so that this company can continue benefiting from the municipality. We had water on Friday night after we went to switch on the water tank valves. They tell us we have to wait for 10% capacity, but we have waited long enough and we are now tired,” said another resident.

Residents complained that this dire situation has caused them to miss work on a number of occasions.

“We have had to miss work and school because of this. Even the clinic in the area has been without water for months, how are we expected to take our medication? They talk about the importance of hygiene, but we have no water, which is a basic necessity.”

The residents said that they had tried to arrange a meeting with Mayor Themba Njilo on Sunday, but were unsuccessful.

“He told us he had a meeting in Richards Bay and could not attend, but promised that we would have water on Sunday, and we are still waiting.”

Speaking to the Maritzburg Echo on Tuesday, Ward 17 councillor Thamsanqa Sithole said the community needed to understand that no one was shutting water off deliberately.

“The situation is really bad, but we are working with the municipality to ensure water is supplied to all 10 areas under Ward 17. The water capacity in the reservoir supplying this area is very low, especially for areas higher up the valley.

“When water tankers are sent to the affected areas we ask people to fill up their buckets because we do not know when the water will return.”

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