R200m to safeguard KZN water tankers as water mafias run amok

The so-called tankers mafias are running riots in KwaZulu-Natal, taking advantage of the dire water situation by sabotaging and destroying critical water infrastructure.

At the heart of the well-orchestrated plan is to ensure that tenderpreneurs who are in the water space profit from the suffering of the residents through the provision of water tankers at a hefty price to the eThekwini metro.

Residents without water for a year

Several parts of the only metro in KZN has been without water for close to a year.  And they rely on tankers, making water a highly sought-after resource. This is mainly for northern Durban communities.

Now the DA wants the national police commissioner Fanie Masemola to intervene by probing the operations of the water mafia. The party, who are the third-biggest party in the provincial legislature, visited the Ottawa treatment works in Durban.

Situation has escalated to killings

It interacted with workers and residents, and they poured their hearts out. They described the water situation as deadly and emotionally charged. It has pitted residents against one another. A city senior officials is said to have also died. He was allegedly attacked inside the water treatment facility and shot dead in a volley of shots.

“Politicians are gambling with our lives. They are deliberately depriving us of water. We have to queue in the early hours of the morning to fetch water from tankers. And it’s not sufficient for all residents. It’s a catastrophe and a health hazard,” explained Zinhle Thabethe, a resident.

The DA pointed out that the eThekwini metro were reluctant to bring a permanent water solution because it was benefiting “comrades” while residents suffer.

Lack of political will

“We are in the point of no return and the question we should ask ourselves is ‘how did we get here’. These are politically linked water mafias who are untouchables benefiting at the expense of the citizens. It’s almost unheard of that R200-million is used to provide security to water tankers. Just because comrades are fighting each other for lucrative contracts,” said DA KZN Premier candidate Chris Pappas.

He explained that the problem of water shortage would easily be solved if there was a political will.

Intelligence apparatus brought in to investigate

“The lack of water is not a natural disaster, it is a [deliberately-made] disaster. It is the result of the chronic underinvestment and rampant corruption,” he said.

The party proposes a water agency, which would be responsible for water infrastructure projects. It will do so by mobilising financial resources through public-private partnerships.

So serious is the sabotage of water infrastructure that the metro had approached the intelligence apparatus. It wants them to probe and hunt down the culprits.

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