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La Mercy protest over post-flood living conditions thwarted by police

People blocking the road near La Mercy, north of Durban. Picture: Supplied by La Mercy Civic and Ratepayers Association (LMRCA)

People blocking the road near La Mercy, north of Durban. Picture: Supplied by La Mercy Civic and Ratepayers Association (LMRCA)

Published Apr 20, 2022

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Durban - An attempt by La Mercy residents, just north of Durban, to protest the prevailing condition in terms of water and electricity following the recent flooding, has been thwarted on Tuesday by police.

A video surfaced online showing residents putting debris across the only road going into and coming out of La Mercy. The video was taken near the Beach Bums restaurant, a popular spot found along the M4.

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Tyres were also burnt to block off access to both the north and south bound lanes.

There have been no reported injuries or damages.

Aggrieved residents from a settlement nearby were allegedly protesting the lack of assistance by the state to restore water and power to their area.

Along the M4 heading north, multiple settlements can be seen built near the road.

A member of the La Mercy Civic and Ratepayers Association (LMRCA) told IOL that the protests started at around 9.30 on Tuesday morning and were dealt with around 11.30am.

KZN police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala confirmed the protest.

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“This morning at 9.30, a group of people from Seatides informal settlement in Tongaat blockaded Genazzano Road and the M4 with tyres and stones. Police are at the scene and are monitoring the situation. No damages or injuries were reported,” Gwala said.

Residents across Durban and other parts of KZN were left for days without water and electricity following the recent flooding, which claimed more than 400 lives as of Tuesday.

Around 60 people are still missing while rescue and clean up operations are still under way by both state and private sectors.

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Access to basic services after the floods remained a challenge for many residents, with South Africa’s ailing power utility, Eskom, doing little to help the situation.

Eskom announced on Tuesday that load shedding would be implemented until Friday due to failures in its operation at Majuba Unit 5 and Tutuka Unit 4.

Last week, Umgeni Water confirmed that two aqueducts supplying the city’s water treatment facility had been broken, resulting in a decrease in supply to residents.

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The true extent of damages to Umgeni Water’s infrastructure has not yet been determined as road blockages rendered some of its sites inaccessible.

“The current potable water shortfall means that eThekwini Water and Sanitation is unable to meet the full requirements of consumers. Until the aqueducts are repaired and brought back into full functionality, a deficit in raw water supply will prevail.

“Similarly, reduced supply of bulk potable water will continue to prevail. The impact on consumers will be experienced in erratic supply, interruptions in supply or low pressure in taps,” Umgeni Water’s Shami Harichunder said.

IOL

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