Newcastle on high alert amid threats to tamper with water supply
Durban - The Newcastle Local Municipality said it was on high alert on Thursday evening following what it referred to as threats to deliberately disrupt the water supply of the entire municipality. The threats allegedly emanated from a group of workers who were workers axed by the municipality for alleged corruption.
Newcastle mayor Dr. Ntuthuko Mahlaba said the council had learnt of this deliberate plot after municipal municipal officials received a tip-off that a group of disgruntled members of the community would create panic by damaging pipes that supply the municipality with water.
“The tip-off further states that the intention is to agitate for another total shutdown and the municipality was also informed that the intention is to influence public perception and render the municipality dysfunctional.
“The group also plans to tamper with the municipality’s reservoirs,” Mahlaba said.
He said that they had urgently reported the matter to the police and the municipality’s law enforcement agency was already on the ground closely monitoring all its water supply pipes.
In January, the municipality was plagued by violent protests, with several shops being looted due to community unhappiness at that the municipality for dismissing over 200 employees over corruption allegations.
He called on all the aggrieved parties to engage in a constructive dialogue.
“We understand that there is a group of people who are hell bent on derailing the municipality’s efforts to root out corruption and this group will stop at nothing, even if it means holding the entire community of Newcastle at ransom.
“But we are undeterred because we get our mandate from the people of this town and we will never betray our residents and we will fight corruption at all costs without even negotiating,” Mahlaba said.
He further states that the municipality would not tolerate people who tempered with a key resource that gives life to thousands of residents and urged residents continue aiding the council in its quest to root out corruption.
“It is evident that these are individuals who are not willing to engage in a diplomatic manner with the municipality, and unfortunately they now want to hold our residents at ransom. We strongly condemn this planned deliberate sabotage,” said Mahlaba.
He adds that the damaging of municipal property is an act of criminality and that they would not turn its back on residents with genuine concerns while urging community members to refrain from taking part in intentionally planned violent protests.