eThekwini’s Mayor Kaunda apologises for water outage

Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda apologised to residents in the City who were affected by the recent water outage that lasted just over a week. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Durban Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda apologised to residents in the City who were affected by the recent water outage that lasted just over a week. Picture: Bongani Mbatha: African News Agency /ANA

Published Oct 2, 2023


Mayor of the eThekwini Municipality Mxolisi Kaunda has apologised for the water outage that affected northern parts of the metro, including Durban North, La Lucia and uMhlanga.

Kaunda was speaking during a briefing on Monday.

The outage lasted just over seven days, as residents were left dry after multiple air valves in the water network were tampered with, according to the Head of Water and Sanitation in Durban Ednick Msweli.

Prior to Kaunda’s apology, the City indicated that it would be budgeting R1 billion in the upcoming financial year to tackle water infrastructure issues.

Going forward in the spirit of proactiveness, the Mayor said they would be installing monitoring equipment along the water network to ensure anomalies in water pressure would not go by unnoticed.

“As the leadership of the city, we want to start by apologising to the residents of uMhlanga and surrounding areas for the water outages they experienced last week due to the tampering of our infrastructure.

“As a proactive and preventative measure, our teams will be installing pressure gauges at strategic points on the bulk aqueduct pipeline and will link this up with our telemetry system where we monitor the reservoir levels. We have also approached the South African Police Service to speed up the investigation on the criminal case of sabotage the municipality has opened,” Kaunda said.

Last week, the municipality confirmed that the City opened a criminal case at the Greenwood Park Police Station.

Kaunda’s office was under immense pressure from frustrated residents in the affected area, with local businessmen complaining about the water outage’s effect on uMhlanga tourism.

uMhlanga Tourism Association chairperson Duncan Heafield said residents were “so frustrated” but also mentioned that the matter needed time to resolve.

“There have been hotel booking cancellations. This can be catastrophic, especially in the tourism sector, if not resolved urgently since uMhlanga is a big part of KZN tourism.

“We are not happy, and we are so frustrated. However, at the same time, I think we need to give authorities time to deal with matters,” said Heafield, in an earlier IOL report.

With pressure mounting on the ground, which was duly considered given the fact that rate and taxpayers were not able to flush their toilets or have a bath, the Municipality devised a plan to deliver water while the problem was rectified.

This was done by bypassing the northern aqueduct, where the problem was found, and using the Umgeni-uThukela Water’s Durban Heights water works as a source.

Water tankers were also deployed to the affected areas but uMhlanga resident Devasha Nair told IOL this was ineffective, as majority of residents in her area, Somerset Park, were at work during the day and unable to collect water.

Just as the heated situation between the City and residents towards the north came to an end, another spanner was thrown into the works after the manager for Community Services for Water and Sanitation, Khumbulani Khumalo, was murdered inside a state vehicle in Inanda on Friday.

Khumalo was shot twice and killed, according to the Saps.

He was found dead inside a white Toyota Hilux bakkie that belongs to the municipality.

“As the leadership of the city, we don’t want to speculate on the motive behind his killing. Let us allow the police to conduct a thorough investigation and apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” Kaunda said.