Durban - Residents from Phoenix, Verulam, and oThongathi, led by the DA, took to the streets at the weekend to demand answers from the eThekwini Municipality over ongoing electricity and water outages.
The protest was led by DA KZN provincial leader Francois Rodgers.
Rodgers said Phoenix was among many areas badly hit by water and electricity outages.
“People have had enough of the incompetence of the municipal officials. People’s food is going rotten in their fridges, people with illnesses have to go a week without water, so the municipality has to fix this,” Rodgers said.
The DA handed a memorandum to municipal officials at the electricity and water depot in Phoenix.
A resident from Verulam, Lungile Phakathi, said the ongoing water and power outages, apart from the load shedding, were making life extremely difficult.
“This (past) week alone we had no running water and the electricity was disrupted. This has been happening for a long time and without water and electricity, there is no life. We now have to buy water in 5-litre bottles at retailers. This has to be fixed and we want it to be immediately attended to,” Phakathi said.
Vassie Govender, of the non-profit organisation Voice of Phoenix (VOP), said the organisation met with senior municipal officials who said the issues in the area were not the result of any kind of sabotage.
“What we are experiencing at Phoenix is not sabotage and has nothing to do with how the municipality is run. It has nothing to do with political interference. The power cuts are caused by theft of cables.”
Govender said the meeting held with the municipal officials had been positive and many promises were made.
“With electricity cuts, they promised to work on it but did not guarantee us that there will be no power cuts. With water, they said they are repairing water infrastructure and by the end of this month water should be available in many areas, but the full repair will be completed by June,” he said.
DA councillor in oThongathi Dolly Munien said residents in the area also had complaints about disruptions to supply of water and power.
“This is an ongoing problem. We are always getting power cuts in oThongathi. Most of the areas do not have water and electricity for the past seven days,” said Munien.
The DA’s constituency head in Phoenix and MP Haniff Hoosen said: “In the communities of Phoenix, Verulam, oThongathi and Lindelani people are suffering every single day, either with no electricity or water.
“We make several phone calls to the officials but they do not respond,” said Hoosen.
EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said he was not aware of the protest and added that the municipality was working hard to restore electricity and water supply to areas that had experienced outages.
“Outages are exacerbated by unrelenting load shedding that is impacting negatively on our water and power provision systems.
“We apologise for the inconvenience to all our residents. We are working unceasingly to restore these basic services in all areas affected once they have been brought to our attention,” Mayisela said.