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End Water Crisis in Phoenix and Verulam Beg Residents

by Thaabit Kamaar
Image by TimesLive

Kwazulu Natal – For more than three months, the communities of Phoenix and Verulam in Kwazulu-Natal have been facing a prolonged water crisis. This week, frustrated residents expressed their grievances through a series of protests, shedding light on the challenges with service delivery from the eThekwini Municipality.

Mervin Reddy, the representative from The Voice of Phoenix, has labelled the water scarcity as a humanitarian crisis. As its impact extends beyond just the residents of these areas to vital societal institutions like hospitals, schools, and businesses.

“You must understand when you get help messages from the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital … And they had to cancel some surgeries due to the lack of water in the hospital. The situation [is bad] … Then it also affects schools.”

Despite a recent meeting between eThekwini city officials and the affected communities to address their concerns, Reddy reported that the discussions yielded unsatisfactory results. The city did not resolve the matter for the communities, as they were not provided with a specific and reliable timeframe for water restoration, which remained their primary concern.

“To us, that’s a fallacy. They came and put hope into the hearts of the people going through this but not giving us accurate information as to when the water outages will stop, and homes will be restored with fresh running water uninterrupted.”

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Enough of Temporary Water Measures

The ongoing water crisis is just one in a series of service delivery shortcomings by the city. Residents have grappled with persistent issues like electricity shortages, highlighting a broader pattern of municipal failures.

The water scarcity is not an isolated incident, as many South Africans in various provinces and communities have endured extended periods without water. While water tankers have been provided in some cases, accessibility remains a challenge, particularly for the elderly and disabled within the community.

Residents of Phoenix and Verulam are no longer willing to view these temporary measures as acceptable, considering their limited effectiveness and the delayed response from the government. They insist on a permanent resolution to the water crisis.

Therefore, they are urging the highest levels of government to intervene and address their pressing water concerns.

“This is a basic human right, and people are being deprived of it. We are not asking for something impossible. We are asking for something that was supposed to be free because water is an act of God and was created by God himself. It’s not something you have to go and find in the corners of the earth now. It is available, and how you manage the process to bring it to the people is important.”

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