Durban families demand end to water crisis

EThekwini municipality promises that water will be restored to affected communities by 15 February

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Residents of Phoenix blocked the main road in the area on Monday to protest against water outages. Photos: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

  • Families in Parkgate in Verulam and Phoenix protested at the weekend about constant water outages.
  • The residents complain that they have not had consistent water supply since 2022. They currently rely on the municipality’s water tankers and a nearby well.
  • The eThekwini municipality says water outages in northern communities are due to mushrooming populations, rampant vandalism and ageing infrastructure.
  • The municipality says water is expected to be restored by 15 February.

Residents of eThekwini communities such as Parkgate in Verulam and Phoenix is reaching have been taking to the streets to demand better water supply.

On Monday morning, residents blocked the main road in Phoenix from 4:30am, chanting: “We want water! We want water!”. They say most days they get water in the taps for two hours a day or not at all.

According to residents, their water woes date back to 2022. They are frustrated with the municipality’s failure to deliver clean water to their communities. Community leader Tyrone Govender told GroundUp: “Two years without [running] water is not easy. The sad thing is that on Saturday when the eThekwini mayor was here, we had water in our taps. But as soon as the mayor left, the problem started again.”

In Parkgate next to the R102, people say they too have inconsistent water from their taps.

Community leader Adam Hartheem said they have been without running water for two years and are relying on municipal water tankers. “The tankers sometimes arrive at around 11pm. To get water we have to run, and many elderly people can’t. We are really tired of relying on the water tankers,” said Hartheem.

Residents of Parkgate near Verulam say they wait hours with their containers for the municipality’s water truck to arrive.

Municipality spokesperson Simphiwe Dlamini said eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, Deputy Mayor Zandile Myeni, Chairperson for Human Settlements and Infrastructure, Themba Mvubu, and City Manager Musa Mbhele had met residents of Phoenix and Verulam at the Shastri Park Community Hall on Saturday.

“Demand for water in eThekwini has grown rapidly due to urbanisation,” he said. Dlamini said there were leaks in the system due to vandalism and ageing infrastructure and upgrades were underway.

“With the current water outage affecting the north, tests and repairs are underway on the Northern Aqueduct, and water is expected to be restored by 15 February,” said Dlamini.

He said the municipality agreed that water tankers “are not a permanent solution” but would be used temporarily while the City resolves its water supply challenges.

TOPICS:  Water

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