Drought meeting spills over

What was supposed to be a community meeting about water restrictions was overshadowed by a high tempered scuffle.

The eThekwini Water and Sanitation department organised a community meeting for Pinetown residents to adress issues of droughts, water leaks and restrictions at the Pinetown Civic Centre.

Nhlanhla Mpondi of Cowies Hill raised an issue with his R10 000 water bill and got into a heated exchange with his councillor Melanie Brauteseth.

“The meter burst, I called the municipality to come fix it and they gave me a reference number. 3 months down the line is get a R10 000 bill,” said Mpondi.

Councillor Brauteseth promised to look into the matter. At the time of publishing, Mpondi said his bill was still not settled.

It has been over 8 months with this bill hanging over his head and Mpondi said he refuses to pay for municipal incompetence.

Other issues of concern were the regular occurrences of water leaks.

Nolwazi Biyela, a representative from the Water and Sanitation department said the municipality has upped efforts to curb leaks.

She said the municipality has a database of hotspots areas that are most affected by burst pipes and leaking taps.

In addition, Biyela said the department had underwent an initiative to train 12 000 unemployed youths as plumbing artisans.

The department has created a WhatsApp helpline where residents could report burst pipes and similar matters. Biyela says someone should arrive atleast 30 minutes after reporting of incident.

Cindy Bradley, a nursing sister, raised concern with the prevalence of leaking taps from communities on the outskirts of Pinetown who don’t have money or knowledge on how to fix the problem.

Biyela said the Human Settlements United takes care ofproper RDP houses and private homes with a property value of under R250 000.

Biyela also confirmed that the city of Durban is currently experiencing drought and this has lead to the shutting of water at certain intervals.

“Currently we are not shutting, we have reduced (water) pressure. Umngeni has imposed restrictions,” she said.

“We came up with a plan of reducing instead of shutting completely.”

The number of the WhatsApp helpline is 0731483477.

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