This image of residents gathered around a water tanker went viral on social media at the weekend. Picture: Facebook
This image of residents gathered around a water tanker went viral on social media at the weekend. Picture: Facebook

City to restore water to parts of Durban later today

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jan 11, 2021

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DURBAN - AFTER a weekend of scrambling for water, eThekwini Municipality has assured residents living in areas west and south of the Durban CBD that water will be restored by Monday evening.

According to a statement from the city, a cross-connection has been commissioned from the Hocking reservoir to the Washington Heights reservoir.

"Water will be supplied to KwaSanti, Luganda, Klaarwater, Washington Heights, Intake, Savannah Park, Nagina, Nsizwakazi and Demat," the city said.

The municipality said the water was expected to start coming from taps on Monday as the city was building capacity to these reservoirs catering for the affected areas.

"The contractor is hard at work installing the broken pump in Northdene which will enable all areas affected to get water. The public is urged to refrain from impeding water tankers to proceed to other areas. We apologise profusely for the inconvenience caused and thank the public for understanding," the city said.

On Saturday and Sunday, residents took to the streets and allegedly hijacked water tankers that were supplying water to other areas.

On Friday, the city said there were technical challenges at the Northdene 3 pump station.

The issues affected those living in Shallcross, Harinager, Chatsworth 4, Klaarwater, Birch Road, St Wendolins Pumps, Washington Heights and Intake Road reservoirs.

DA Caucus leader in eThekwini, Nicole Graham, has slammed the entire situation, saying “the reality is that this was an avoidable disaster for many reasons“,

Graham said there had been a number of meetings between councillors and city officials over the state of the pump stations.

“Despite this, it is clear that maintenance was not done in due course and that spares or replacements were not procured,” she said.

Graham said a tender notice was put out to provide electrical repairs to two of the three pumps at Northdene in September 2020.

“The DA has been informed that this was all completed by October 21, with the intention of using urgent procurement regulations to complete the work. Apparently, against the advice of legal, finance and water and sanitation employees, the accounting officer refused to sign this off. Why wasn’t this done, when the gravity of the situation was surely clear? This was during the period when Sipho Nzuza had returned to work, so it is not entirely clear which ’accounting officer’ was responsible. The municipality must make this publicly known," she said.

She said the net result was “an entirely avoidable humanitarian crisis” where hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people were without water in a declared Covid-19 hot spot zone.

“While certain municipal officials have been helpful and amenable, enough is enough when it comes to eThekwini’s flailing Water Department. Those responsible for this mess must be named, charged and dismissed. Nothing will change unless accountability is enforced,“ Graham said.


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