Durban's Mobeni water reservoir was damaged in the early hours of Saturday morning. Picture: Supplied

Pretoria - Reports in the media, particularly on social media, suggesting that a reservoir in the Montclair policing area just outside Durban was "bombed" are not only false, but also very irresponsible, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said on Sunday.

On Saturday morning, at about 5am, the walls of a water reservoir in Alamein Avenue in Montclair gave way, causing hundreds of kilolitres of water to gush out, SAPS spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said.

As a result of this, a private company in close proximity to the reservoir was severely affected. Fortunately, there had not been any injuries or deaths. Forensic experts had found no evidence at this stage that even suggested that the damage to the reservoir was a result of any form of criminal action, he said.

On Saturday, City of eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza said in a statement released to the media - later retracted by the city - that the reservoir had been "bombed". "We have [a] strong suspicion that it is related to the illegal industrial action that is under way in our municipality," he said.

The city retracted the statement later on Saturday, saying investigators had pointed out that the damage could have been caused by structural defects.

On Sunday, Naidu said at this stage preliminary investigations suggested that the structure of the reservoir may have been weakened by the recent heavy rain and flooding in the Durban and surrounding areas, causing the walls to give way. 

"The loud bang that neighboring communities may have heard was actually a sound probably caused from the splitting of the reservoir wall caused by the pressure of water inside the reservoir. It is indeed very irresponsible for individuals to be posting information on public platforms that could potentially spark unnecessary uncertainty and panic. In incidents that are security related, only the security cluster may confirm or deny sequence of events," Naidoo said.

African News Agency (ANA)