Celebrations as water is restored to a KZN community after eight months
Residents of a KwaZulu-Natal south coast community are rejoicing after water flowed from their taps for the first time in eight months on Monday.
The Ugu municipality confirmed on Tuesday that the supply had been restored to the affected area in Hibberdene, which has been hard hit by the lack of a regular supply of water.
“Residents of an area known as Stick Farm — about 3km from Hibberdene — battled with an intermittent supply for three years, but in the past eights months not a drop flowed through the Ugu pipes to this area.
“Ugu blames infrastructure and sabotage to the pipes for lack of service delivery,” said community activist and resident Ibrahim Shaik. He has been helping to provide water to residents in the Stick Farm area and continuing to exert pressure on the municipality to restore the water supply.
In April the situation came to a head when fed-up residents resorted to fiery and violent protest action, prompting co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Sipho Hlomuka to intervene.
He promised desperate residents at the time that there would be short-term and long-term interventions. These were to include supplying water on a rotational basis, with prior communication of schedules to ensure communities were consistently informed.
“Residents have battled for too long. They had to endure hardships in walking for many kilometres to get water. Sometimes even borehole pumps would break down and the elders would have to pay R10 to youngsters to get water with a wheelbarrow and containers from as far as 5km away,” said Shaik.
“Students were using study time to walk kilometres just for water. The elderly have suffered the most as they have to use pension money and when this runs out then it’s really hard.”
One relieved resident, Faith Memela, said she was elated about the restoration of her water supply.
“It is such a relief. I really appreciate Mr Shaik's efforts.”
Another resident, Nirvashnee, said: “I am higher than high. I could not believe it actually. I thought someone was playing a prank ... I ran to the tap and water gushed out.”