DA calls for municipality to resolve Amajuba’s illegal strike

Issued by Gerhardt Smook – DA Amajuba Councillor
08 Oct 2019 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Amajuba District municipality is concerned with the illegal strike by municipal workers which has left residents without water for the past six days.

We are calling on the Municipal Manager Sipho Zwane to act immediately on the altercations over overtime payments between his management and Utrecht water treatment plant employees which has led to residents of Utrecht in Northern KZN experiencing water cuts. This following a pipe burst in the main water line beside the main street on Friday 27 September.

Despite repeated reports to the Amajuba call centre, the problem was ignored until Tuesday 1 October when the water supply to the town was summarily cut without any explanation to the community.

On the 2nd of October, the office of the Municipal Manager reported that the municipality was attending to a major burst pipe at Utrecht which unfortunately caused water supply interruptions. This statement was devoid of all truth.

It was not until the 4th of October that the Mayor’s office finally admitted that they are embroiled in a dispute with the water plant employees, trying to resolve an employee illegal strike which has unfortunately caused water supply interruptions.

The Municipal Manager assured the meeting that he had deployed a further six water trucks to attend to the water crises. Up until today, this is not done.

This is not the first time that the community has been held ransom by the very same employees. During April/ May, the town was without water for three weeks for the very same reason, a dispute over overtime payment.

Enshrined in the Water Services Act 3(1) “everyone has a right of access to basic water supply and basic sanitation”. Furthermore, according to Water Services Act 4 (3b) management must “provide for reasonable notice of intention to limit or discontinue water services and for an opportunity to make representations”.

The municipality’s non-compliance with the act amounts to a violation of a basic human right. Furthermore, the fact that this is a recurring problem, indicates that the municipality does not have a contingency plan as required by legislation regarding essential services.

The DA will continue to hold the government to account for its continued failure to deliver the most basic of services proving that only the DA is capable of bringing change to our communities.