Violent protests erupt after taps run dry in Ntuzuma

2020-02-06 20:17
A bus was set alight on Wednesday night in Ntuzuma during protests over water. (Nokulunga Majola, GroundUp)

A bus was set alight on Wednesday night in Ntuzuma during protests over water. (Nokulunga Majola, GroundUp)

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Residents of Ntuzuma H and G sections in eThekwini blocked Ithendele Drive with burning tyres on Wednesday night and Thursday morning after their taps ran dry more than two weeks ago.

A sporadic supply meant residents had to wake up in the early hours to fill buckets before their taps ran dry again, GroundUp reports.

"I wake up at six and by that time there is no water. Apparently, it is available for an hour or two early in the morning," said one resident.

On Wednesday afternoon, protesters stoned a water tanker, the first to be seen since the problem arose. A bus was set alight on Thursday morning.

"What are we supposed to do? We travel a long distance to ask for water from our neighbours. We demand answers," said another resident.

Resident Nontokozo Mjadu, however, said she did not agree with the way the protests were unfolding.

"We had a difficult time in the morning going to work. I had to walk quite a distance to catch a taxi because the road was closed. We are all suffering with the water issue but there is no need to put us through so much grief.

"Initiatives are needed to address the issue. We cannot afford to live without water," added Mjadu.

Councillor Thandanani Maphanga said the water problems were beyond his control.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said water tankers have been sent to Ntuzuma and other affected areas, adding the problems were due to ageing infrastructure which "resulted in reduced storage capacity at reservoirs".

He said another challenge the City faced was load shedding and cable theft. "We cannot pump water into reservoirs without power. After the power comes back on, it takes a couple of hours for us to get back on track with pumping water which is why people are left without water for at least a few days."

Mayisela urged the community to work together with the City by reporting faults and cable theft.

He appealed to the community to refrain from violent protests as it is damaged infrastructure and the welfare of residents.

Meanwhile, KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: "A bus and a vehicle were set alight by the protesters. No injuries were reported. The Public Order Police and local police are at the scene to stabilise the situation. A case of public violence has been opened for investigation by Ntuzuma police."

Read more on:    durban  |  water  |  protests
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