Ugu District Municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast has announced it is doing everything in its power to ensure that normal water supply is restored in the picturesque tourist town areas ranging from Port Edward to Port Shepstone.
The Citizen has received complaints from angry residents of the South Coast, complaining that the district municipality was struggling to repair disintegrating water infrastructure. The problem is worsened by an illegal water services strike by a group of about 15 municipal workers.
“We can’t live like this. We can’t shower, we can flush our toilets, and my husband is forced to take a bath using a hosepipe connected to the a water tank while we continue to pay municipal rates every month,” one resident told The Citizen last week, and further complained they were told to not “inform people from Joburg because they will not visit the area during the festive season”.
Justin Mackrory, the CEO of South Coast Tourism Association, told The Citizen there were pockets of areas affected by water shortages approximately between Shelly Beach and Port Edward areas of the municipality.
“Members [tourism business owners] are understandably concerned due to the timing of the strike and the inconveniences and losses suffered, however, business has to carry on where possible as we have our high season starting a month from now, and many members have or have made contingency plans such as storing and sourcing water from local contracts who have borehole supply.
“We believe some retail outlets have also reduced prices of drinking water as a gesture to the community. And it’s this ‘can do’ attitude in our community and of our members that will pull us through, while the authorities address the current challenges,” Robertson said.
Robertson said they managed to establish, from multiple engagements with the Ugu District Municipality, that the major cause of the shortage was a “labour issue, which they municipality are currently trying to bring to an appropriate conclusion”.
The tourism association also indicated it had laid out the tourism sector’s concerns during the engagements and remained optimistic “sense will prevail and supply will resume swiftly”.
Ugu District Municipality senior manager for mayoral communications France Zama acknowledged there was a water shortage in the tourist-friendly area two hours away from Durban, and said it was being addressed.
“All workers who had engaged on an illegal strike action are back at work since Friday following the intervention of the provincial government. We are therefore appealing to the public to bear with us as we are doing everything in our power to ensure that normal water supply is being restored in other areas as soon as possible.
“Many areas are already receiving water while the building up of water systems is in progress in certain parts of Margate, Manaba, Uvongo and Gamalakhe. An intensive program of static water tanks has been implemented in these areas to provide relief supply,” Zama explained.
Mackrory reiterated the South Coast was open for holiday tourism, and they were confident visitors would have a great time “in our beautiful part of the KZN province”.
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