Margate without water for more than 4 days

2016-12-12 17:08

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Durban - Areas in the Ugu District Municipality on the South Coast, including the holiday town of Margate, have been without water since Thursday following a strike by municipal workers.

The area is a well-known holiday destination and the lack of water has raised concerns with peak season already having begun.

George Henderson, the Democratic Alliance municipal council chairperson, told News24 on Sunday that the situation had been sparked by a workers' strike.

"On Thursday the 8th of December we were supposed to hold our last Ugu municipal meeting at 11 [am]. Just before 11 we heard that the ANC caucus was held up within the municipal building because workers started striking."

The municipality however insisted that water crisis was caused by both the strike of the workers and a water shortage in the region. 

Henderson said the striking workers opened valves that let water run freely and in the process water resources were lost. They specifically targeted areas where the South African Local Government Association (Salga) was holding sports week events, he said. 

The strike is apparently in relation to life insurance premiums that Sanlam was allegedly supposed to pay out to workers.

In a statement Sanlam denied these claims and said money can only pay out when an insured event occurs, such as when an employee becomes disabled or dies.

A municipal press release on Monday said that water has been restored the most regions. Oslo Beach, Manaba and parts of Margate CBD remains however without water due to the reservoir filling up slower than what water is being used.

Municipal Spokesperson Zimbini Ntlangula told News 24 on Monday that she believes all the regions will have water by Tuesday morning. 

Economy affected

Henderson is worried about the effect this will have on the area's economy.

"It's a nightmare. We have already seen how people share on Facebook that you shouldn't come to the South Coast because there's no water. It costs the economy so much," he said.

The DA caucus plans to ask that the municipality be placed under administration.

"This is not the first time this happened. Last year there was salt water being pumped into the pipes. It couldn't be used for drinking but at least toilets could be flushed with it," Henderson said.

"The situation was completely preventable."

The municipality did not respond to requests for comment.

Municipal manager Dhanpalan Naidoo told News24 on Monday morning that they were entering a meeting to discuss a way forward and would release further information soon. 

Read more on:    sanlam  |  durban  |  local government

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