By Johan Pretorius
Ugu Municipal Manager DD Naidoo has given the assurance that everything humanly possible will be done to restore the municipality’s water supply to normality. He outlined the experience of the past two weeks and the serious water supply interruptions which have caused serious anger and frustration in the community.
Speaking at a media briefing in the Ugu boardroom on Monday morning, Mr. Naidoo sketched the background to the outages, and said he fully understood the unhappiness of people who had had no water. or who still had to endure lengthy water outages. It was totally unacceptable, and no reasons or excuses could make up for the tremendous inconvenience. He mentioned that more outages occurred on Sunday in the Port Shepstone area, and unfortunately, while repairs were being done, electricity cables were damaged, so some people had neither water nor electricity.
Mr. Naidoo stressed that because of the seriousness of the situation, the municipality was leaving no stone unturned to restore its reputation. There won’t be any statements such as ‘there is no money’. ‘All available expertise from the outside has already been brought in, because it does not make any sense if you win awards of excellence, and you stand their with your awards while not delivering what your mandate compels you to do. He thanked all the people, organisations and associations who tried to help Ugu, and said in times like these Ugu could do with all the assistance it could get. Also those who offered help or advice via phone calls or the social media, as well as the very responsible reporting of the news media.
He referred to several rumours spread on the social media, and specifically that a body was blocking a pipe in one of the reservoirs. ‘This was devoid of all truth. When we investigated, we found that it was a shutter board. But even after the removal of the board, the water still would not flow.’, he said. He reiterated what he told eHowzit in a video interview: ‘The outside experts are just as baffled as we are as over the reasons for the supply breakdowns. The experts are convinced, and have convinced me, that there has been illegal and unauthorised interference with our systems. Where it comes from, we simply do not know, and have therefore handed the matter over to the police and lodged a charge for them to investigate. You will remember after last December’s serious outages we did the same. In addition, we have referred the matter to the Priority Task Team investigating crimes against the state.’
Mr. Naidoo stressed Ugu management’s main priority at this stage was to ensure that all communities had water, and to enable the municipality’s residents to be proud to say that they were living in the Ugu district.
On the dispute with the labour unions over a Sanlam insurance issue, he asked why the unions did not refer the matter to the Bargaining Council, if the unions thought they had a case. Ugu would accept the council’s verdict, but the unions have not referred the matter.