Durban residents are fed up with water cuts and the eThekwini Municipality’s apparent inability to fix the problem.
Tap water has become a scarce commodity in several parts of Durban, with ratepayers going for days at a time without this basic essential.
Residents in Phoenix, Verulam, Tongaat and Durban North say their basic human rights are being denied and they will fight to have these restored.
Judy Kisten, who lives in Belvedere, Tongaat, said being without tap water had caused her and her family great distress.
“I am living with a disability as my toe was amputated and I have problems with my feet. We have been without constant tap water since the floods that took place in 2022.
“When the water tankers do come, my disability becomes a major hurdle because we have to walk all the way up the driveway carrying bucket loads of water. How am I expected to do that in my condition? I can’t afford to wet my bandages because it will affect my feet. How do I carry buckets of water when I have a walking problem?” she asked.
Her husband relies on crutches to walk due to a hip condition. He too struggled to walk, and fetching water from the tankers was hazardous for him too.
Kisten said water tankers served their area about three to four times a week. Any water they were able to get is murky and not fit for drinking and they used it for bathing, washing clothes and cleaning dishes, and for flushing the toilet.
“I am unemployed and there is not enough money to buy water from the shops, so we have to use very little when we do get bottled water,” she said.
Larissa Marks from Parkhill in Durban North said the situation in their area was disappointing.
She said the feeling among residents of the area could be summed up as “frustration overload”.
“Gosh, there are so many people who have not had water for months. Everyone is struggling to survive with the water cuts. Fortunately, we are only two adults living here. I feel we should not be paying the exorbitant rates that we so dutifully pay on a monthly basis, I feel like we are alone and being lied to. I have no faith in anything that eThekwini says they do, are doing, and what they plan to do,” said Marks.
Bonna Govender, a resident of Phoenix, said they have had enough.
“We are never given an honest answer of what the real issue is. Even the councillors do not know or tell us the honest truth. This problem began after the floods in 2022, and has worsened since,” he said.
Nazeema David, who lives in Ocean View, Verulam, with four other family members, said they were also frustrated.
“Who on earth is going to come to us and rescue us from this situation that we are in? Water is a basic essential and we have been without tap water for four months. This government that we have is doing nothing, and the councillors are just ignoring us,” she said.
David said tap water was available to them for two hours around midnight, and water tankers were not allocated to where they lived. She said if the city was unable to provide tapped water, residents would appreciate the installation of water tanks as an alternative.
Tired and angry about the situation, residents from Trenance Park, Verulam and neighbouring areas protested along the area’s main roads on Monday.
Ish Prahladh, president of the eThekwini Ratepayers and Residents Association, said the decision to protest was taken to highlight the plight of ratepayers.
“Water is a human right and it is a crime to not give people water. For people to stay for so many days without access to water is a violation of their rights. The tankers that are being sent are not enough and are not being sent consistently,” said Prahladh.
He said they were currently busy with a water drive to raise funds to purchase tanks to distribute to residents.
Prahladh said they had given the municipality seven days to respond to their grievances, failing which they would march to the Durban City Hall.