Verulam taps out on water criminals

Reaction Unit SA and Verulam SAPS teams are briefed before responding to information about criminals stealing or damaging water infrastructure in the town.

Reaction Unit SA and Verulam SAPS teams are briefed before responding to information about criminals stealing or damaging water infrastructure in the town.

Published Jun 1, 2024


Durban — Verulam residents are taking up the fight against criminals delaying progress in solving their water issues.

The Verulam Water Crisis Committee is working with Reaction Unit SA (Rusa) and the SAPS to stop criminals stealing or damaging water infrastructure.

They have already apprehended some people in the Ottawa area in possession of stolen water meters.

Verulam Water Crisis Committee (VWCC) executive member Roshan Lil-Ruthan said he was grateful to Rusa and the SAPS teams for their commitment to protect vital water infrastructure.

“This is the kind of decisive action we need to eradicate these criminal activities. The VWCC has been working tirelessly to address the water crisis in Verulam, and this latest development is a testament to the community’s resilience and determination.

“The VWCC will also secure the support of the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure the perpetrators face the full force of the law. We will not rest until these thefts are eradicated or significantly reduced.”

Lil-Ruthan said Verulam residents needed organisations to be committed to protecting their water supply, especially from theft of water infrastructure in their own properties.

“Verulam deserves a reliable, secure water supply. Together, we will continue to protect our water resources and ensure a brighter future for all residents.

“These criminals and their cohorts have demonstrated a complete disregard for the well-being of our community. Their actions have directly contributed to the exacerbation of the water crisis, and we will not tolerate this blatant disregard for our community’s basic needs.”

The VWCC was aware of numerous incidents across various suburbs in which water meters and piping had been targeted by thieves.

“This not only compromises the community’s access to clean and reliable water, but poses a significant public health risk. We are outraged by the sheer audacity of these thieves and their accomplices. They are directly sabotaging the efforts of the VWCC to address the water crisis in Verulam,” said Lil-Ruthan.

Reaction Unit SA’s Prem Balram said many water-related crimes were being committed in the Verulam community.

“We have had plenty of crimes relating to water, scams relating to water, and in recent weeks we’ve been attending to victims who were forced to pay people who were carrying water to their homes. They assist the old to carry water to their homes, and when they get to the homes they demand cash, refusing to leave.

“There have also been hijackings of tankers, robbery of tanker drivers, and general infrastructure damage, with water pipes being stolen, is common.”

Balram said they were working with the SAPS to catch water-related criminals.

“Last week in an operation with the police we arrested a female who worked for a foreigner who ran a scrapyard that was collecting water meters, copper pipes from the general public and drug users.

“We have helped with responding to all these call-outs, patrolling when there’s no water in the area, when people are walking to the JoJo tanks where they’ve been robbed, escorting them back home, escorting tankers in a way to prevent these crimes.”

All involved in the anti-crime drive called on residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity related to water infrastructure theft and damage.

Independent on Saturday