#WaterCrisis: ‘Business forum’ further disrupts water supply

File Photo.

Ugu District Municipality has been targeted by a disgruntled group who refer to themselves as a ‘business forum’ and who purport to be advocating for local businesses to be given their piece of the water supply pie during the current crisis.

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The group, who reportedly operate ‘mafia style’, brought water tanker services in the Ugu district to a halt on Tuesday this week, demanding that local companies be appointed to provide these services.

This led to to the static tanks, which were erected to provide relief supply, not being refilled.

The group claims that high ranking politicians, Ugu officials and friends of officials are working as a syndicate by hiring Durban companies to rake in money from the public purse.

It is reported that the trucks brought in to supply water during the ongoing crisis – now entering its second week – belong to senior politicians who are using a Durban based business as a front to help themselves to Ugu finances.

According to the group, this was not only happening at Ugu, but also at other municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal.

One of the group leaders said all they wanted was to put an end to the ongoing corruption and to allow local businesses to benefit.

“Someone is giving orders to have these companies flock down here to make money and the question is who? Who do these companies belong to, because they are not just random service providers? There is conflict of interest and Ugu must fix this,” said the group leader.

A councillor at Ray Nkonyeni Municipality echoed these sentiments, saying that although these contractors had the capacity in terms of resources, they did not have on-the-ground knowledge like where to find the valves or reservoirs.

“The challenge with these companies is that they don’t know where to go so they spend a lot of time looking for these places, unlike local contactors,” the councillor said.

In a statement, Ugu said it had been engaging with the group in an attempt to reach an amicable solution.

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Following a meeting between the two parties, it was agreed that the tankers would be allowed to continue to supply water to communities until the crisis was over, while further meetings would be held with the group to determine a way forward.

Port Shepstone police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Zandra Wiid said on Tuesday this week that police had been called to Marburg because a group of people was reportedly unhappy about contractors from outside the area delivering water there.

“They gathered at the Ugu Disaster Centre, but later dispersed. No one was hurt and no damage was caused,” said Lt-Col Wiid.

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Zimasa Mgwili
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