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Residents of KZN south coast town face an Easter weekend without water

02 April 2021 - 16:41 By suthentira govender
Residents on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast are fed-up with the inconsistent supply of water. Stock photo.
Residents on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast are fed-up with the inconsistent supply of water. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Weerapat Kiatdumrong

Residents of a KwaZulu-Natal south coast town are livid at the prospect of an Easter long weekend without water — an ongoing problem plaguing areas along the coastline.

Community activist and resident Ibrahim Shaik told TimesLIVE on Friday that Hibberdene, a popular tourist town, had no water supply.

Shaik has been helping to provide water to residents in rural communities outside Hibberdene, who have had no proper water supply for about three months.

“The situation in Hibberdene is still as dire as it has been in the last three or four months, in that we still have no water.”

Shaik said water had been coming in “dribs and drabs”.

“In the last 60 days we've had approximately 10 days of water. The current situation is that there is no water in most of Hibberdene.”

The Ugu municipality has come under fire by angry residents in several towns because of the intermittent water supply.

The municipality did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation.

Earlier this week co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka promised desperate residents, who frequently go without water, the would be short and long-term interventions.

After violent and fiery protests in the Ugu district last week, Hlomuka on Tuesday led a delegation of municipal and provincial government officials to address residents on the steps taken to resolve service delivery challenges.

The interventions will include supplying water on a rotational basis with prior communication of schedules to ensure communities were kept abreast consistently.

Shaik said the water crisis affected many areas on the south coast.

“I am a member of a number of WhatsApp groups and their reports from these groups are that intermittent water is available for a day or two, sometimes even maybe a few hours,  and then it's disconnected again,” he said.

Shaik said the water situation had affected an already struggling tourism industry, trying to gain ground lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Without a doubt this water crisis has had a negative impact on the tourism industry.

“The lack of tourists in the area subsequently created a devastating ripple effect across the board and impacted all sectors. Many people have lost their jobs due to downscaling. Residents and businesses find the already difficult situation now being  compounded with the water crisis.”

He said the challenge was to identify the crux of the problem.

“We have been getting many excuses from broken pipes to reservoirs not being maintained ... Initially most residents bought into those excuses. But as time went on it became apparent that the quantity of broken pipes suddenly became unprecedented and residents started monitoring their area for possible sabotage.

“Residents have noticed how a pipe gets fixed today at about 2pm and by 10pm that same evening another pipe is broken.

“So there seems to be other components at play here.”

A resident, who did want to be named, said: “The situation has been very bad. Even now we don't have water except for the water we are getting through donations.

“The municipality must fix the pipes so that we can all have water along the south coast. They are telling us to wash our hands because of the coronavirus, but how are we supposed to do that without water?”