No water: State on standby to assist

Department of Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo Independent Newspapers

Department of Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 25, 2024


Durban — The Department of Water and Sanitation said it was aware of the water supply challenges being experienced by the communities of oThongathi, Phoenix and Verulam.

Minister Senzo Mchunu said they were continuously engaging the eThekwini Municipality to find permanent solutions that would ensure that the water supply was fully restored and residents had a reliable supply.

He said the department and uMngeni-uThukela Water were on standby to respond and assist.

Mchunu said the department was concerned that the recent torrential rainstorms that battered parts of KwaZulu-Natal caused massive damage to infrastructure, including that of water.

Mchunu said the eThekwini metro was a water services authority, mandated by the Constitution and designated to provide water services to its residents and they as the department trusted they should live up to their responsibility.

Mchunu further urged the municipality to act with urgency and decisively, even if it meant they must work night and day to resolve the matter and ensure that services were fully restored to affected communities.

“Engineers and technicians from uMngeni-uThukela together with eThekwini are working on site to identify and repair broken water infrastructure damaged by the recent floods. This process will continue until water is restored in all areas. Being without water is a sensitive and emotional issue and we understand the anger and frustration,” said Mchunu.

Verulam Water Crisis Committee spokesperson Roshan Lil-Ruthan said the water situation had worsened, which had led to protests. Lil-Ruthan said no water had been delivered to them.

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader of the DA, Francois Rodgers, said they had formally lodged an appeal to the South African Human Rights Commission to urgently hold public hearings in the north of eThekwini and investigate the ongoing water crisis in Phoenix, KwaMashu, oThongathi and Durban North.

“It is unthinkable that the community of Bester in KwaMashu has not had water for 14 years and Tongaat has not had water for 90 days. Phoenix continues to have daily water outages without explanation. It is the DA’s view that the ANC-EFF eThekwini Municipality is guilty of human rights violations for their failure to provide water to these residents as required in terms of Section 27 of the Bill of Rights,” he said.

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