Phoenix water woes continue to irk residents

The communities of Phoenix have been subjected to water cuts every evening until the following morning, due to water challenges encountered when acquiring water from Umgeni water. Picture: Nithin PA/Pexels

The communities of Phoenix have been subjected to water cuts every evening until the following morning, due to water challenges encountered when acquiring water from Umgeni water. Picture: Nithin PA/Pexels

Published Feb 8, 2023


Durban — Water supply and provision in areas of eThekwini remained a challenge and greater efforts were needed from the government to ensure that everyone had access to it, KwaZulu-Natal ANC KZN chairperson Siboniso Duma has said.

He was speaking at a rally on Sunday to celebrate the ANC’s 111th anniversary.

The Phoenix community, north of Durban, has had water challenges since the April 2022 floods and is now under water rationing – with the water taps getting switched off every evening, and turned on again in the morning.

Democratic Liberal Congress (DLC) leader Patrick Pillay criticised the constant water cuts. It was unacceptable for the Phoenix community to be without water for days, he said, adding that they are also facing rampant water leaks that result in water losses.

Pillay said contractors hired to do water repairs failed to get the problem solved. Pillay said he had written numerous emails to Umgeni Water, asking them to take action against those assigned to do water infrastructure repairs, but nothing gets done.

African Democratic Change (Adec) leader Visvin Reddy said the situation in parts of Phoenix has reached a crisis stage. Reddy said Adec is in discussions with the mayor of eThekwini to act with urgency in restoring water and the dignity of those affected by the ongoing water outages.

DA ward 49 councillor Tino Pillay said water rationing is still continuing every afternoon when valves are shut off and then re-opened the next morning. This is continuing because there is still a challenge in acquiring water from uMgeni.

Pillay said the bulk water that the eThekwini Municipality purchases is no longer the same amount that it used to get.

“That is why we still continue with rationing at night.”

Pillay said there are no other irregular water cuts at the moment though, “which is a good thing because we can work around the schedule of water cuts”.

South African Water Chamber’s Benoît Le Roy said it was worrying that a lot of water was lost by cities, but it came as no surprise. Le Roy said the country’s infrastructure is very old and needs serious upgrades.

He also blamed load shedding, which he said was affecting the delivery of water.

“Water delivery systems are not designed to be switched on and off, which is what load shedding is doing, thus destroying ageing infrastructure.”

Le Roy expressed concern at the high level of water losses in eThekwini, labelling it catastrophic and in need of being repaired without delay.

According to Le Roy, it is important to have a clear plan on water as it plays an important role in people’s lives and is important for development.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the situation in the Phoenix area is back to normal.

“Like any other area, there would be isolated incidents where pipes are bursting, and the City will move with speed to attend to them.

“However, we would like to appeal to residents to use water sparingly. We thank them for always understanding in the event there is an interruption in the provision of basic services.”

At the rally, ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula said the ANC plans to deal with load shedding, water supply issues, the hiring of unqualified personnel across the government sector and ending the scourge of unemployment.

Mbalula said they will be looking closely at municipal executives to ensure that they were doing what they were hired to do. He said the ANC will not tolerate any lazy leaders.

People did not care about what was the outcome of the ANC elective conference in December, but cared more about what service delivery the new leadership will bring for them, he said.

Mbalula said officials should accept defeat and not fight among each other, but rather work for the upliftment of the citizens.

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