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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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The city has listened to the water concerns of oThongathi residents, says eThekwini Municipality

OThongathi residents burn tyres in protest over water. Most of the area has had no water since the April floods. Picture: Screen grab of video

OThongathi residents burn tyres in protest over water. Most of the area has had no water since the April floods. Picture: Screen grab of video

Published Jun 23, 2022


Durban - oThongathi residents burnt tyres, and dumped rubbish on roads around the town yesterday amid frustration over the lack of water supply.

The area has been without water since the Tongaat Water Treatment Plant was washed away in the April floods.

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Provincial police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said yesterday’s protest started at 6am after a group of people blockaded Hambanathi Road with burning tyres and stones.

“No damage or injuries have been reported.

“The police are monitoring the situation,” she said.

DA member of the eThekwini Municipality executive committee, councillor Yogis Govender, said protesting residents also blocked the R102 at the Gopalall Hurbans Road and Walter Reid intersection near Gandhi’s Hill.

“The anger and frustration from disgruntled residents are manifesting in a series of protests in the last month,” she said.

Govender said the contract to repair the treatment works had been delayed after an unsuccessful bidder raised an appeal regarding the awarding of the contract.

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She said this was a serious setback because while the timelines to fix the

Tongaat Water Treatment Works was projected to be four to six months, the appeal had suspended the awarding of the contract.

“There has been no communication from eThekwini Municipality since the awarding of the contract was placed in dispute,” she said.

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Govender said the municipality had been very slow in dealing with short-term measures to compensate for the lack of tap water.

“For a town of almost 150 000 to 200 000 people, eThekwini water and sanitation unit were fielding a dismal complement of tankers since inception,” she said.

In response to the issues raised, the eThekwini Municipality said it did listen to the concerns of residents.

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“The city council, to date, has deployed more than 20 water tankers to the area.

“We have not been informed that this is not enough.

“We have also installed water tanks in the area for all none drinkingrelated water-use purposes.

“Water outages are not as a result of the city’s making.

“We are all recovering from the devastating April floods.

“We ask that all communities please bear with us, as we are doing everything in our power to assist residents.”

It added that while it understood that the community was disgruntled, it condemned the service-delivery protests because there were many other avenues of communicating their frustration.

Regarding the contract delay, it said there were internal supply chain processes that needed to be exhausted.

“We are aware a contractor was appointed but there were objections raised. Let us allow that process to run its course.

“We are appealing to be given space to finalise this process.

“We are moving with speed to make sure work commences soon.”

In a press briefing yesterday, Umgeni Water Board chairperson Gabsie Mathenjwa said there were continuous discussions between the entity and eThekwini on the issues with the water supply to oThongathi.

She said while there had been discussion around Hazelmere Water Treatment Works, the plant was already operating at maximum capacity.

“We are still awaiting a formal response.

“In the meantime, representatives of Umgeni Water and eThekwini continue to discuss possible solutions in the war room, which was established by the Minister of Water and Sanitation to receive progress reports, oversee progress and facilitate funding for repairs and restoration of infrastructure.”