The strike by workers at the Amathole District Municipality is severely affecting the provision of water to a number of towns that the municipality services. Taps in towns like Bedford, Adelaide and Butterworth ran dry last week.
It is alleged that striking workers have been sabotaging water infrastructure. Municipal workers at the district municipality have been on strike for the past three weeks. They are demanding a six-point-five percent salary increase.
Residents of Bedford have been queuing daily to get water from the few available sources.
“We have resorted to using water that is not clean. This wrong for us. We have no option but to carry buckets and fetch water. Our backs are aching.”
“We use water for everything. We can’t take our medicine, we can’t cook. We have to share the same bath water.”
“We want Mnyimba to pay his workers because it is affecting us. It not right. We are sending our children for water and they are passing the tar road. They going to get into accidents,” say some residents.
The municipal manager, Thandekile Mnyimba, says they are dealing with the matter. The district municipality secured a court interdict to safeguard its staff and facilities.
Water trucks are also now being escorted and security has been beefed up at its treatment plants. Mnyimba says the focus is on restoring the water supply.
“What we have done is to secure contractors for water conservation and water demand management. We just extended the scope of those contractors to say they must come to assist us in operating our plants, especially those that have been vandalized so these operators are opening up the valves working with our own team,” explains Mnyimba.