South Africa: Minister Promises to Restore Water Supply to Durban Suburbs By 15 February

Head of the water department in eThekwini told to solely focus on resolving the water crisis by next week

Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has promised residents of eThekwini Municipality, particularly in Verulam, Phoenix, and Tongaat, that their water supply will be restored by 15 February.

Mchunu’s visit follows recent protests by residents of Parkgate in Verulam and Phoenix to demand better water supply. Residents have previously expressed their frustration and hopelessness at the water crisis. Many of them said they felt let down and forgotten by eThekwini municipality.

Last week, officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation, eThekwini, and uMngeni-uThukela Water outlined current and future plans to be implemented to address the ongoing water supply challenges which were exacerbated by heavy rains.

While addressing about 500 residents at the Mountview Civic Center in Verulam on Sunday, Mchunu said he asked Ednick Msweli, head of the water and sanitation department in eThekwini, to solely focus on resolving the water crisis in several communities by next week. Mchunu said the same instruction was given to the chairperson of the board at uMngeni-uThukela Water.

“Ednick Msweli assured me that water will be restored by the 15th. No effort will be spared in resolving these water supply challenges. Work will be carried out day and night if we have to in order to meet the deadline and provide communities with water,” said Mchunu.

Verulam water crisis committee chairperson Roshan Lil-Ruthan said: “We were provided with water tankers but that is always not enough. Most of our areas are downhill so it is sometimes not easy for tanker trucks to take water to those communities. We have been relying on the private companies to provide us with water.”

Msweli said he had joined various community WhatsApp groups in order to get first-hand information on any issues. “We been working with the community even though it’s not easy.

“On 5 February, the City will commission a borehole in Trenence 3. This is while work is being done on the northern aqueduct to increase the water flow. The project is progressing well,” he said.

Msweli said: “There has been a lot of suggestions that we must get water from Hazelmere dam to the Mountview reservoir. uMngeni-uThukela water is trying by all means to store water. We are still having the challenge of getting water into the taps, but the project has started.”

Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has said that tests and repairs are underway on the northern aqueduct to get water restored to the affected communities by 15 February.

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