Sisulu pleads with protesters to end violent protests over water service provider

11 July 2020 - 14:38
By NIVASHNI NAIR
Violent protests were staged between Eshowe and Nkandla on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast during the week.
Image: iStock Violent protests were staged between Eshowe and Nkandla on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast during the week.

Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu has pleaded with protesters to end road blockades, violence and sabotage of infrastructure over the King Cetshwayo District's decision to not renew its contract with a private waster service provider in favour of Umgeni Water.

Violent protests were staged between Eshowe and Nkandla on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast during the week.

In a joint statement with the Umgeni Water board chairperson Ziphozethu Mathenjwa and King Cetshwayo District Municipality, Sisulu said she noted with concern violent protests and vandalism of municipal infrastructure in parts of the municipality after the decision not to renew the contract with the service provider.

The municipality opted to partner with Umgeni Water to “rehabilitate all the rundown schemes and provide high quality water to all communities”.

“It is both highly regrettable and uncalled for that the people we serve, especially in this trying time of proliferation of the coronavirus and resultant Covid-19, have to suffer further hardship through deprivation of basic water services.

“As the minister with oversight on water and allied services, it is my greatest wish and desire that those who have instigated and are perpetuating the abhorrent actions of road blockades, protests and sabotage of infrastructure that delivers water to some communities in King Cetshwayo District will stop, pause for a moment and think about the consequence of what they have resorted to. Innocent lives are being put at risk because of their actions,” Sisulu said.

As part of the fight against the proliferation of Covid-19, Sisulu mandated water boards across the country to assist municipalities that are water services authorities (WSAs) to deliver water and related services to citizens.

“It is through the vision of sustainable water services delivery to all that Umgeni Water has signed a service level agreement with the King Cetshwayo District Municipality. Umgeni Water will begin operating and managing secondary bulk potable (drinking water) schemes from October and will supply water to the municipality.

“It is important that matters are put into proper perspective in order to correct disinformation and fallacies that are being peddled in some quarters that are directly or indirectly impacted by the latest developments.

“Umgeni Water, a state-owned entity, is one of the water services providers that responded with a detailed proposal for operation, maintenance and management of some existing secondary bulk schemes as a short-term intervention and with strategies for the medium-term and long-term, including elimination of rudimentary schemes. This was in line with the requirements of the municipality and it was a fair, transparent and competitive process, contrary to the claims being made by some in our communities,” the parties said in the joint statement.