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War of words over Zikalala water tanker claims

KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala has defended himself against allegations that he abused his powers to summon a water tanker to deliver water to his home in the La Mercy area.

Screen grab of a video circulating on social media alleging that a water tanker only delivered water to Premier Sihle Zikalala’s while the community queued for water from a borehole at a nearby mosque.

Published Apr 21, 2022

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DURBAN - KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Sihle Zikalala has defended himself against allegations that he abused his powers to summon a water tanker to deliver water to his home in the La Mercy area.

He faced criticism during a provincial legislature sitting yesterday following revelations that a water tanker had delivered water to his house while thousands of residents are without water following the damage to infrastructure caused by the recent heavy rains.

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DA leader Francois Rodgers called on the premier to step aside, while EFF leader Vusi Khoza said this was indicative of the ANC’s malfeasance in governing. The allegations first emerged earlier this week and were dismissed by Zikalala as being baseless and contemptuous.

However, on Monday the La Mercy Civic and Ratepayers’ Association said many of its members witnessed the water tanker proceed to the home of the premier where it was offloaded for his exclusive use.

Zikalala yesterday changed his tune and said the delivery of water to his home was a mistake that would never happen again, and he apologised to the community.

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He said he had been sourcing water for the community for some time.

He blamed DA ward councillor Geoff Pullan, describing him as an absent councillor, and said residents had knocked on his door looking for assistance, which is how he was “dragged” into the issue of water supply.

“From last year the La Mercy residents association came to me with a petition … It was not the first time that the community of La Mercy asked me to get a water tanker for them. I have been getting water tankers, pleading with the municipality.

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“This time I was not at home when they delivered the water; they delivered water to my house and when the La Mercy community engaged me on that, I sincerely apologised to them and told them it would not happened again.

“I am organising water for the people of La Mercy because they have a councillor who is absent, councillor Geoff Pullan from the DA.”

Rodgers said the premier should step aside “for a fully independent investigation into his unethical and misleading conduct during the past week”.

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“On Monday, the premier vehemently denied the accusations, claiming that he had arranged it (the water) for the community,” Rodgers said.

“Earlier today (yesterday), in a shocking about-turn, he admitted that he had in fact arranged for the tanker to be at his house while offering a pathetic apology and promising that it would never happen again.”

Khoza said that some areas like Umgababa, which had been without water for seven days, were ignored while others were “flooded” with water.

ANC MPL and MEC for Human Settlement, Jomo Sibiya, said Rodgers’ criticism of the premier was unfounded and that parties were grandstanding.

“It’s like they are saying the premier just cares about himself, while the premier has explained what happened.”

Pullan fired back at the allegation that he was an absent councillor: “He (Zikalala) can say that, but it’s not true. Anyway, what does that have to do with the water tanker delivering water to his house, does the whole community live in his house?”

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