Tires were burned during a protest against water shortages in Tongaat, near Durban, on Monday.

PHOTO: Kaveel Singh, News24

  • Residents of Tongaat are protesting because the area has been without access to water for several months.
  • PCommunity art has been left without water after flooding in KwaZulu-Natal in April damaged the local water supply.
  • Renovations are underway and are expected to be completed in the next few months, according to the municipality.

Fed-up residents of Tongaat in KwaZulu-Natal blocked the R102 during a protest against access to water.

By Thursday morning, their frustration had reached a boiling point.

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Police spokesman Constable Tenjiswa Ngcoba said a group of people burnt tires and used metal pipes, trees and rubbish to barricade other roads in the area around 01:00.

Ngcoba said:

The police are watching the scene. A case of communal violence has been opened for investigation by the Tongaat SAPS.

Metro Police spokesman, Superintendent Boisi Zunga, said officers were on the scene.

This followed a series of protests in May and June over the denial of water supply following damage to local water infrastructure during flooding in the province in April.

About half of the settlements are still without water, and residents are waiting for the completion of repairs to the Tongaat water station. In June, the municipality estimated that it would take about six months to complete the work.

eThekwini Municipality spokesman Mluleki Mntungwa said repairs to the plant were ongoing. When the mayor visited the facility two weeks ago, repairs were about 15% complete.

Meanwhile, water tankers have been sent to the area and static tanks have been installed, Mntungwa added.

“We are working day and night to restore the water supply. The contractor has been given a deadline to complete the repairs by the end of October,” he said.

Some of the static tanks were damaged during service protests.

“We call for patience and calm. We condemn the destruction of infrastructure and violent protests against the provision of services,” he said.

“We understand the frustration, but that doesn’t mean people should start destroying the infrastructure that helps them.”

In an unrelated demonstration, Durban residents blocked Alpine and Umngeni roads during a protest on Wednesday night.

According to Ngkob, about 200 people gathered, burned tires and blocked the road.

“There are no victims. There is a fact of public violence [being] investigated by Sydenham SAPS,” Ngcoba said.

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