Residents on the KZN South Coast feel they have to burn something or block a national route for their water grievances to be heard.
On Monday, a large group of Bhobhoyi residents barricaded the N2 near the area demanding water from Ugu District Municipality. Speaking to The Witness, the residents said Ward 23 has been without water for four weeks. They said they have realised that the only way to get the municipality’s attention was to burn tyres on the N2 and obstruct traffic.
KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said protesters barricaded the road with burning tyres from 4 am on Monday. She said no injuries or damages were reported, adding that police were still monitoring the situation.
Residents said they will not stop protesting until water has been restored and the mayor addresses them.
Meanwhile, areas such as Anerley, Marburg, Hibberdene and Port Edward have also been without water for weeks. Said Hibberdene resident Rosa Webster: “They keep making excuses about Eskom, high water demand, sabotage, pump failures — nothing changes.
“There was an inspection recently of a pump station which showed how badly it has been maintained [to the extent] that water was pumping faster back into the river than to where it was supposed to be going.
“So, the reasoning behind high water demand is illogical.”
In a recent statement, Ray Nkonyeni Municipality DA caucus chairperson, councillor Leon Garbade, said they conducted an oversight visit at St Helen’s Rock abstraction point, the holding dam and the water treatment works last week.
Garbade said what was found at the abstraction point was both shocking and terrifying. He said pumps were missing and some were broken, and that the entire system was completely reliant on two pumps — neither of which were running optimally.
“There is a huge leak causing a great deal of water to flow back and not into the pipes to the water treatment works. The two constructed berms have been washed away and have collapsed. The holding dam is extremely low, which is indicative of the problems being faced at St Helen’s Rock.”
Comment from Ugu municipal spokesperson France Zama had not been received at the time of publication.