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KZN municipalities under fire at SAHRC hearings into water woes

15 August 2022

The South African Human Right Commission's inquiry into water access in KwaZulu-Natal kicked off in Umhlanga on Monday.

Chairperson of the Tongaat Civic Association, Don Perumall, said Monday marked 126 days of residents not having running water in their taps.

He believes that Tongaat has been sidelined because of its racial make-up.

"We believe the manner in which we are being treated is discriminatory, shows reason for inequality and is infringed on our dignity and has shown total disregard for our environment and our residents of our town.

"The incapacity of Umgeni Water, eThekwini, as well as the minister of water and sanitation, Cogta, in that aide of residents in Tongaat to resolve this water crisis, we as residents are not able to continue without water for a further four months, as indicated by eThekwini Municipality."

Charley Chetty, who is also with the association, has told the commission that the municipality also has no plan or budget to fix water infrastructure.

"If there is a plan to rectify the raw sewer that is currently in the river that you are professing that is going to be fed to our people of Tongaat. Can we have the plan? To date, as we speak, the raw sewerage of Sandfields, Newtown, all is in that river. The is no sewer infrastructure. It is gone, destroyed."

Residents of Ugu on the south coast have also endured years of water shortages that have not only impacted them personally, but also the tourism industry.

David Watson from the Ugu Ratepayer Association did not hold back, saying municipal officials are responsible for nine years of a water crisis in the district.

"We ask that you use your powers to help us in any way to relieve the situation. Politics have failed us. Representation to parliament and legislation, eight years later, things have got far worse."

Source: East Coast Radio

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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