Violent protests after taps run dry in Ntuzuma
Municipality says load shedding is partly to blame for water crisis
Residents of Ntuzuma H and G sections in eThekwini blocked Ithendele Drive with burning tyres on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The protesters were furious because taps ran dry over two weeks ago.
Sporadic supply means residents wake up in the early hours to fill buckets before the taps run dry again. “I wake up at six and by the time I wake up there is no water. Apparently, it comes out 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 have to travel a long distance to ask for water from our neighbours. We demand answers,” said another resident.
Resident Nontokozo Mjadu, however, said she didn’t agree with the manner of the protests. “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,” said Mjadu.
Councillor Thandanani Maphanga said the water problems were beyond his control.
KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said: “A bus and a vehicle were set alight by the protestors. 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 SAPS.”
EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said water tankers have been sent to Ntuzuma and other affected areas. He said the problems were due to ageing infrastructure which “resulted in reduced storage capacity at reservoirs”.
He said that another challenge the City is faced with is 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 said that the situation with water disruption in Ntuzuma is beyond the City’s control and urged the community to work together with the City by reporting faults and cable theft.
Mayisela appealed to the community to refrain from violent protests as it is damages infrastructure and the welfare of residents.
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