Water tanker torched in Umlazi as service-delivery protests continue

01 February 2019 - 17:50
By Bongani Mthethwa
An eThekwini municipality truck was set alight in Umlazi, in the south of Durban, after it had delivered water on Friday.
Image: Supplied An eThekwini municipality truck was set alight in Umlazi, in the south of Durban, after it had delivered water on Friday.

Durban police are investigating malicious damage to property after an eThekwini municipal truck was petrol bombed in Umlazi on Friday.

Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele said police at the Bhekithemba police station in Umlazi had traced the driver of the water tanker, which was set alight on the main Mangosuthu Highway.

"According to the Bhekithemba police, the driver arrived only now at the police station after he was traced by the police. A charge of malicious damage to property will be opened," said Mbele.

eThekwini metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad confirmed that the truck had been petrol bombed as it was leaving the area after delivering water.

"The driver stopped a taxi and escaped to his depot in Isipingo. He alerted his supervisor, who alerted us. We secured the scene, and are investigating," he said.

The incident is believed to be linked to the ongoing protests in the city's biggest township.

On Wednesday, a group of people brought municipal services and operations to a standstill in Umlazi. Security and police personnel were deployed to municipal offices and depots after aggrieved contract workers allegedly stormed the Umlazi Parks depot and the Sizakala office in KwaMnyandu Mall.

The disruption is believed to be part of an ongoing standoff between the municipality and contract workers who collect refuse in the township.

Durban mayor Zandile Gumede condemned the disruption, saying it was not only uncalled for but also illegal. 

This week the eThekwini municipality saw the delivery of three of four Casspirs to the metro police, which city officials hope will help to quell the service delivery protests and land invasions around the city.

Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer said the Casspirs, worth R20m, would be used to safeguard metro police during volatile situations such as protests and land grabs.