Water meter installations stopped due to Jozini protests

African News Agency

Water meter installations stopped due to Jozini protests
Protests in South Africa.

The Jozini municipality has suspended plans to install water meters in the wake of protests that closed the town in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal for two days.

Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department, on Thursday said: “The bone of contention which seems to have sparked the protests arises from the intention by the municipality to install water meters. The community appeared unhappy with this move despite the fact that it is norm and the revenue collected will be spent on maintaining infrastructure. After intense engagements with the community the municipality agreed to suspend the water meter programme.”

Mabaso said that residents appeared to have been angered by water shortages caused by the drought.

“The government has responded to these by increasing the number of water tankers and has also committed to addressing all sewerage problems within the next weeks.”

He, however, did not elaborate on what the problems with sewerage were or how they were being addressed.

He said that the protests had had a negative impact on the economy of the town and urged residents to use “legitimate channels for all service delivery related grievances”.

During the course of the protests, police arrested 23 people who appeared in court on Thursday.

Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said that 19 were released due to there being insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution.

“Today [Thursday] it has been very quiet. We have only heard that they are moving the rocks and things left in the road,” he said.

The four who remained in custody on public violence charges were expected to appear in court again on Friday.

Mabaso said that there were several schemes in place to address the backlogs in water supply to Jozini and the entire Mkhanyakude district.

“Currently government is implementing the Hlabisa/Mandlakazi Scheme, the Shemula Water Scheme in uMkhanyakude, all of which are at advanced stages of implementation. These schemes will be game-changers in resolving backlogs in water delivery in this district once they come to life.”

He said the department was responding as best it could to all service delivery grievances.

South Africa Today – South Africa News

SOURCEAfrican News Agency