Eastern Cape Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Xali Nkata has condemned the brutal unprotected strike by Amatole District Municipality staff.

The department said on Wednesday that some municipal workers had gone on strike, leading to a water crisis in the surrounding areas.

According to CoGTA provincial spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngama, the officers are allegedly damaging the water supply infrastructure.

“The workers allegedly damaged the water supply infrastructure and closed the water taps, which cut off the water supply to settlements, enterprises, government institutions, hospitals and clinics.

Illegal strike affects water supply

“The illegal strike has also severely affected the services of the Transnet Phelophepa health train which is currently in Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality,” said Ngam.

Ngam said employees have the right to strike, but must refrain from illegal actions.

“While workers have a constitutional right to strike or protest, they need to understand that water is an essential service and they have no right to infringe on other people’s rights, especially access to water for our communities.”

Nkata visited the destroyed reservoirs and areas in Raymond Mlaba and Amakhlati local municipalities on Tuesday to assess the extent of the damage caused by the strike.

Nkata said that this behavior by the officers of the Amatole District Municipality is criminal.

“Some of the things that are done are very harmful and tend to be criminal because what is happening is criminal. Shutting off the water is a crime; water is life; denying our people water cannot be justified or revolutionary,” Nkata said.

He urged all affected municipalities to ensure that there are people held accountable for infrastructure damage.

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