Durban North water crisis enters day five, as residents claim sabotage

Residents from around the Durban North were saved after the Musjidur Rahman Mosque on Kenneth Kaunda road allowed them to fill up bottles and containers from their on-site borehole and water tanker which was donated. Picture: Musjidur Rahman Mosque

Residents from around the Durban North were saved after the Musjidur Rahman Mosque on Kenneth Kaunda road allowed them to fill up bottles and containers from their on-site borehole and water tanker which was donated. Picture: Musjidur Rahman Mosque

Published Sep 22, 2023


Northern suburb residents of the eThekwini Municipality have entered day five of no running water, as some claim that the latest crisis was an act of sabotage engineered for profits.

Residents from areas such as Durban North, Effingham, Parkhill and uMhlanga have been without running water since Monday.

Devasha Nair, from Somerset Park in uMhlanga, bemoaned the poor communication from the City.

“First we were told it was some valve problem, this wasn’t anything formal. We only received formal communication on Monday evening. From what I know, at around 4pm on Monday it went out.

“A water tanker came to our area during the day, but most of the people were at work so we couldn’t really use that. We have had to go out to family members and friends to bath and all of that,” Nair said.

“The water came back on yesterday for a bit and went off at night. It came on late last night and then went off again this morning. So that’s kind of where we are,” she added.

Larissa Marks from Parkhill, north of Durban, said they have also been without water since Monday.

“Luckily, we have a pool at home so I have been using that for the toilet and boiling it for the dishes and stuff. But for drinking, we haven’t had water. It has been hectic and you can see the people are frustrated now.

“Luckily there was a mosque in my area that was giving out 5 litre bottles of still water. They were so kind and helpful,” Marks said.

IOL spoke to Aslam Randeree from the Musjidur Rahman on Kenneth Kaunda Road in Durban North about how they have managed to bring water to the people during the dry spell.

The water tanker that a Durban resident donated to the Musjidur Rahman Mosque on Kenneth Kaunda road for people affected by the recent water outage to fill up. Picture: Musjidur Rahman Mosque

“We have just been doing our best to help the community out with the whole water crisis. We have a borehole on site and that's filtered water so it’s safe for drinking. People have been using that to fill up their buckets and containers.

“We also had someone donate a water tanker that was parked outside for people to use. We managed to get security for it so people could fill up throughout the night as well. Someone also donated a load of bottled water which we have been giving out.

“I think we will just have to carry on until this thing comes to an end,” Randeree said.

While ratepayers fill the void left by the municipality, the opposing Democratic Alliance has slammed eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda for being absent during the crisis and said the coalition-run government could not effectively manage the issue and that the party would be approaching the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

“We firmly believe that this crisis represents a violation of the fundamental human rights of our fellow citizens, and as such, we will be lodging a formal complaint with the SAHRC to ensure that justice is served.

“It matters little whether this water crisis is the result of economic sabotage or sheer administrative incompetence; the consequences remain the same. We cannot allow the well-being and dignity of our citizens to be held hostage by political negligence,” the DA’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Dean Macpherson said.

Former Umgeni Water member and leader of the African Democratic Change (ADeC) Visvin Reddy said he can smell sabotage in the air.

Reddy made mention of an investigation at Umgeni Water a couple of years ago, where someone threw a log into a pump at the Durban Heights water facility.

“This is a secure place, not everyone can just walk into it. When this incident happened, it was clear that the damage had to be done by someone inside the facility. The Minister was made aware of this and there was an ongoing investigation. But that just fizzled into nothing.

“Every time something like this happens, when the water or power goes out, there is someone benefiting from it,” Reddy said.

Ward 35 councillor Nicole Bollman also suggested that the water outages currently being experienced in the northern parts of the municipality could be as a result of sabotage.

The eThekwini Municipality has acknowledged the water outage and said they are working on solutions to rectify the issues in northern parts of the city.

“The interruption is due to low pressure at certain parts of the main northern aqueduct pipeline. Municipal technical teams have been working tirelessly for the past few days to identify the source of the problem and to ensure speedy repairs,” the City said.

IOL asked the Municipality about the allegations of sabotage.

“The statement state clearly what the issue is,” eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson Princess Nkabane said, referring to city statement which said there was low pressure at the northern aqueduct.

There have also been reports about ‘gatvol’ residents staging a protest at the Virginia Pump site on uMhlanga Rocks Drive.