Teargas and rubber bullets for protesters in northern KZN
The police had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Esikhaleni in northern KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.
Officers were called to intervene when municipal officials, who were working to fix damaged valves to restore the water supply, came under attack from community members. Police are investigating sabotage and damage to municipal water infrastructure.
This comes after valves in the pipe system in Madlankala were allegedly locked and welded on, blocking the supply of water to surrounding communities at eSikhawini.
Municipal employees fled after allegedly coming under attack from protesters who blocked streets with burning debris. After the crowds were dispersed, it was discovered that water infrastructure was damaged again.
The incident happened while the uMhlathuze city mayor, Mduduzi Mhlongo, was meeting a delegation of the protesters to address community grievances.
The Madlankala route remains blocked and law enforcement are monitoring the situation, trying to restore calm and open roads to allow safe movement as well as social services.
In a statement, municipal manager Lulamile Mapholoba said they were aware of the challenges concerning the supply of water in these areas, and had been working to restore the supply through their systems.
“We are also confronted with challenges, ranging from a number of illegal connections, acts of sabotage in our infrastructure and as a result, we have opened cases with SAPS to investigate and instituted a forensic investigation.
“We are hoping that all these investigations will reveal who exactly has interfered with our infrastructure so that they are brought to book,” said Mapholoba.