Phoenix residents protest, clash with police as eThekwini water outages spark anger

Published Jan 29, 2024


Residents in Phoenix, north of Durban, took to the streets on Monday morning to protest against the eThekwini Municipality’s inability to bring an end to the constant water shortages facing the northern areas.

The affected areas include Zwelisha, Bester, Verulam and oThongathi.

Anger and frustration were the common emotions shared by the many residents who set up various protest points at six checkpoints around the town, a resident told IOL.

The protest was put together by a civic movement called Voice of Phoenix (VOP).

A video of the protest captured by a Phoenix resident on the ground showed people clashing with members of the Durban Metro Police and South African Police Service on the Phoenix Highway.

Police officers were dressed in full uniform and can be seen forming a line in the video. After shouting back and forth, the group of protesters decided to sit down to avoid escalating the situation.

Alice Govender, Deputy-Chairperson of the Phoenix Civic Movement, said a lot of people showed up with the intent to highlight the ongoing struggles with water service delivery.

Govender said the mood of the crowd was of anger and confusion.

“We are standing here in Ward 52 at the Unit 10 corner at the Ferndale robots. The people came out today in their numbers to highlight their plight in terms of water,” Govender said.

“Secondly, to show how disillusioned we are with our government in the eThekwini Municipality. We even had a meeting recently and I can tell you that it was a big sham. They came here to tick boxes and not solve problems.”

Residents also conducted a mass prayer during the protest.

The VOP has also issued a notice to protesters to stand down and not engage with authorities as its memorandum was handed over.

All motorways blocked during the protest have since opened up to allow traffic to flow.