Ugu offers cash reward for information on water saboteurs

Residents wave placards at the Ugu stakeholders' meeting which took place at the Uvongo Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday).

Ugu District Municipality is offering a R300 000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for sabotaging and vandalising its infrastructure during the recent water crisis.

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Large parts of the South Coast were left without water – some for as long as three weeks – when workers belonging to the South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) were involved in a stand-off with Ugu management as a result of an alleged illegal strike.

Having lost millions of rands and being forced to implement costly emergency plans in order to provide water to health institutions, schools and communities, Ugu said it was determined to track down and prosecute those involved in the tampering.

Residents engage with Ugu management at a stakeholders’ meeting in Uvongo on Wednesday this week.

According to municipal manager DD Naidoo, an urgent request was made to police minister Bheki Cele to bring in a team to lead the investigation and ensure that the culprits were brought to book.

At an Ugu stakeholders’ meeting held at the Uvongo Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday) ratepayers asked Ugu to charge Samwu members over the crisis.

Businessman and Ramsgate South resident Wayne Briden told Ugu Mayor, Mondli Chiliza that he was still without water.

Mr Briden said he believed the latest incident was the fifth time Ugu workers had embarked on an illegal strike, forcing residents to bear the brunt.

“What are you doing to recover the costs from Samwu?” he asked.

Residents wave placards at the Ugu stakeholders’ meeting which took place in the Uvongo Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday).

“This is ratepayers’ money being wasted, and we all know when this occurs Ugu is forced to revisit its budget and take money intended for something else to fix the mess.”

After the municipal manager said he could not guarantee such a crisis would not happen again, one Margate resident asked why there had been no update on promises made to install cameras at the reservoirs.

The MM added that he believed the arrest of at least one culprit would however act as a deterrent.

According to the mayor, the cash reward and possible arrests were the first steps towards mitigating the chances of water sabotage incidents re-occurring.

“We are working with law enforcement agencies to ensure culprits are arrested,” he said.

Anyone with information can contact Crime Stop at 0860010111 or the Port Shepstone branch commander, Colonel Zenzele Khumalo at 082 339 8405.

Ugu management thanked all who had attended the meeting for their contributions during the crisis, and for being the municipality’s eyes and ears by reporting suspicious behavior during the strike.

Zoli Mkhwanazi was one of many who attended the Ugu stakeholders’ meeting held at the Uvongo Town Hall yesterday (Wednesday).

However, it was not all smooth sailing at the meeting.

Tempers flared when one person walked out after being reprimanded by other residents for disrupting the meeting by constantly interrupting the mayor during his address.

Other attendees said they had had enough of his behavior because they had taken time off work to attend the meeting.

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  AUTHOR
Zimasa Mgwili
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