ETHEKWINI NEWS FLASH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

14 SEPTEMBER 2015

City's Legal Unit Investigates Violent Attacks On Contractors 

EThekwini Municipality's legal unit is investigating attacks against City contractors. 

The ongoing attacks, which have claimed the life of one inspector, have had dire financial implications for the City, which is losing thousands of rands in stolen equipment and loss of productivity. 

The attacks have also caused an adverse impact on service delivery.

The Municipality relies on Water and Sanitation as well as Electricity contractors for their expertise and to ensure that various communities around Durban are serviced regularly. 

As a result of the violent attacks, several contractors are now reluctant to join the City’s database. “We’re working against the odds,” said the City’s Senior Manager for Water Operations Ashan Nandlal.

Nkanyiso Gumede of the City’s Electricity unit said their contractors have either been stopped from working or chased off site. 

A meeting between City officials and the disgruntled individuals was convened last week Friday where the latter presented their grievances. A follow-up meeting is expected later this week. 

The problem of contactors being assaulted and sometimes killed started late last year when some local residents picketed and blockaded municipal vehicles, demanded that they be hired. The pickets soon escalated into criminality when work equipment and personal belongings were stolen.

“Our contracts have had their cellphones, vehicles damages, generators, grass cutters, water pumps and other equipment stolen,” said Nandlal, adding that an inspector was late last year attacked and killed at KwaMashu Community Residential Units. Nandlal said the City has about 300 contractors on site daily conducting routine check-ups and repairs. “We have about 200 vehicles in several areas around the City day and night ensuring that all our citizens have running water,” he said. 

Owing to the attacks and loss of life, contractors are sometimes reluctant to respond to emergencies at night, especially in “problematic” areas. “If there’s a burst water pipe in an unsafe area our guys quickly go in and shut down the water until they fix it in the morning when it’s safer,” said Nandlal. 

He urged community members to report the perpetrators. “When we shut down the water, we end up inconveniencing innocent people who are not part of the criminals,” he said. 

EThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo has expressed concern following increasing number of attacks targeted at Municipal contractors.

“Such brutal attacks are committed by criminals who want to hinder service delivery. But these attacks against contractors will not deter the Municipality from accelerating service delivery to our communities,” said Nxumalo.

Nxumalo urged residents to be on high alert and report any suspicious behaviour to the South African Police Service.

ENDS 

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

For more information members of the media can contact Gugu Sisilana on 031 311 4855 or email: gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za​ or Princess Nkabane on 031 311 4818 or princess.nkabane@durban.gov.za