State unresponsive to Imbali residents lack of water

Councillor “has water in her house but we have no water for months now” says resident

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Photo of protest with barricade across road
Residents of Imbali protested outside their ward councillor’s home. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Residents in Imbali (Unit 14 and Unit BB), Pietermaritzburg have been without a water supply since February. Frustration boiled over last week when protesters blocked roads with stones and burning tyres.

The protest started at a local clinic and ended at the house of ward councillor Sindisiwe Gwala. Residents stood outside Gwala’s house despite the rainy weather. They sang and demanded she address them. Some shouted: “Sindi must fall”. Residents who were part of the protest told GroundUp that the thirst for water have made their life difficult. A water tanker supplies the area, but, the residents said, it is not healthy.

Sometimes other areas don’t receive water at all and we are tired of that, said Nomkhosi Gumede. “It’s not the first time we have protested for water. The ward councillor knows our problem but she has no answers on the matter. [The] water tanker supplies water ‘sometimes’. … It is dirty water. Sometimes the water has rust and fur. We don’t know whether that’s dog or cat fur. … we have complained about that and no one cares to listen. Even after her elections as ward councillor she has never called a meeting to discuss on how are we going to work together. … how are we supposed to work with her when she doesn’t do her duties? She has water in her house but we have no water for months now,” said Gumede.

Gwala is the ward councillor for the second time in the ward. Residents protested against Gwala before the local government elections as they did not want her to have a second term.

Ntombifuthi Mlaba, 67, said she is struggling: “I live with children and I’m the one who is supposed to fetch water from the water tanker when the children are in school. I’m old and sick and when the children are not around life is difficult. The place where the water tanker arrives is far away from my house. We are not fighting with the ward councillor but we want her to attend to our basic needs.”

Attempts by GroundUp to reach the ward councillor were unsuccessful.

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TOPICS:  Government Housing Water

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