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Illegal connections: UDM takes action

Umzinyathi District Municipality is to deal firmly with all illegal water connections.

Umzinyathi District Municipality, led by Mayor Rev James Mthethwa and councillors, is to deal firmly with all illegal water connections which, among other things, have been a cause of protests by residents in many parts of the district.
At a special council meeting on Friday, October 4, to address protest action that has resulted in roads being blocked (especially in the Umvoti area), it was heard that illegal connections to the main water pipeline have caused water cuts.
Mayor Mthethwa, who recently addressed protestors, acknowledged the anger of the community and told the council that the problems ranged from illegal water connections to the vandalising of JoJo tanks and ‘abuse’ by water tanker drivers.
“To enable Umzinaythi to provide affordable levels of water services, drastic steps need to be taken urgently,” he said. “We cannot allow a situation where people connect water illegally and deprive others along the same pipeline. We cannot allow water tanker drivers to sell water to the community while Umzinyathi is paying dearly for their services. We cannot allow a situation where residents damage JoJo tanks that council has paid for to help them to conserve water. We are taking immediate action to stop this behaviour,” said Mayor Mthethwa.
He further acknowledged that there are a number of water schemes in the district that are in progress and need more funding.
“The Vant’s Drift water supply in Nquthu has had a shortage of water for the last three years, and upgrading it will cost over R250-million. The upgrading of Msinga Bulk from Sampofu to Pomeroy, Douglas and Mazebeko, Muden Opathe, Mthembu West, Muden, Keat’s Drift, Ndaya, Sampofu, Tugela Ferry, Mbono/Msinga Top, Ngubukazi Water, Pomeroy, Douglas and surrounding areas will cost over R1-billion to complete,” he said.
In a report tabled by the Umzinyathi technical team, it was said that Eskom had disconnected schemes in Kranskop, Keate’s Drift, Fabeni and Tugela Ferry because of non-payment of power by uThukela Water, which previously managed the water supply in the area.
Acted immediately
Jeff Hassan, UDM Communications Manager, said the district municipality had acted immediately and restored power within two days.
Eskom also discovered illegal connections and also disconnected power in Ngome. Residents protested, and the mayor attended two community meetings and assured them improved level of services before December.
The Keate’s Drift area has been affected by large number of illegal connections. Mayor Mthethwa met with the community and all connections are to be removed until the Muden scheme is commissioned, at which time they will have more water available, said the team.
Two dedicated teams are now working on developing 26 springs in Msinga and 27 springs in Nquthu, and the plan is to complete them before December. At Keate’s Drift, Umzinyathi is installing a new package treatment plant to augment and treat water in the short term (about two months).
At Engome a geohydrologist has found eight new boreholes sites to drill production boreholes. At Matimatolo a scheme is fully functional and the community is getting water daily. “At the Nquthu Plant we are upgrading the pumps to provide a million litres per day, and also carrying out maintenance on the pipelines to repair leaks.
“Soon we will be appointing ‘community security’ to watch over rudimentary schemes at night, which are being vandalised repeatedly,” Mr Hassan confirmed.

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