As the December Festive Season comes around, the massive water outages have started again. The current situation is due to sabotage to pump stations, valves, and pipelines. There have also been numerous cases of staff intimidation and the burning of at least one municipal vehicle used by a plumber. These actions have left almost 150000 residents without water with the poor, elderly, disabled, and vulnerable the most affected.
These acts of sabotage are allegedly due to disgruntled municipal employees, who were recently dismissed due to previous illegal strike action.
This is also not the first time acts of sabotage have left Ugu District Municipality without water. There have been numerous similar acts of sabotage over the past 4 years. Ugu District Municipality leadership has laid at least 4 cases at the Port Shepstone Police Station.
However, all of these cases have passed without any action being taken by the South African Police Services. There has been no feedback from investigating officers, no arrests or convictions. Due to this lack of action, these acts of sabotage have continued with impunity and have massive negative impacts on the communities of the KZN South Coast. During this time of Covid-19, there is no water for hygiene purposes such as the washing of hands. It has also had negative impacts on medical services at St Andrews, Murchison, and Port Shepstone Regional Hospitals. The economic impacts are severe with many job losses in the local tourism and agricultural industries.
As the Democratic Alliance, we believe in the rule of law. Municipal infrastructure is an essential key point and all acts of sabotage against them should be prioritised. This is the reason why we have written directly to the Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial Commissioner, to request:
1) The urgent feedback on investigation for the case numbers
2) The deployment of experienced investigators to ensure investigative progress.
3) The deployment of experienced crime intelligence officials to attain intelligence to prevent further sabotage and ensure arrests are made.
The residents of the Ugu District Municipality have now suffered through almost 5 years of severe water outages. These cannot be allowed to continue. The South African Police Services must act severely against these criminals that continue to sabotage vital municipal infrastructure. As the Democratic Alliance, we will continue to fight for a permanent solution to the ongoing Ugu Water Crisis.