KwaZulu-Natal – As the election date nears, an increasing number of eThekwini residents are threatening to boycott next week’s elections. They are disgruntled with the delay in fixing water and sanitation issues. It’s taken the City of eThekwini’s Department of Water and Sanitation more than 10 days to attend to the damage caused by the recent storms in eThekwini.

Chesterville Ext 2 resident Smangele Ngobese, says the poor service from the municipality with regards burst water pipes is the last straw. Ngobese says her family has gone without water for several days as a result and this is enough reason for her not to vote next week.

“I started voting in 1994 and I have been telling myself that I will keep voting come May 8th. Now I have changed my mind. My family and I will never vote again. We have been reporting the water issue and demonstrating our discontent to the municipality for many years but no one is taking us seriously. We stay in a low lying area and above us is where the water pipes are situated. When there are heavy rains we are the first ones affected; water pipes burst resulting in water flooding into our home,” says Ngobese.

The visibly annoyed 38 year old further said the most infuriating part is that all the elected ward Councillors have ignored the issue of water pipes and blocked sewerage systems. The sewerage spills all over the place to the extent that residents can’t even open their doors and windows.

“I am fed up with all the Councillors; we expected them to be the champions of service delivery but all of them have done nothing to better our living conditions. We have reported the need to repair water pipes and sewerage system since 2009. I wish I had enough money to move my family to a better place. When my father was still alive, he was the voice of the community; fighting for good service delivery. But he passed on without winning the battle; leaving us in the same unacceptable conditions. We are then asking ourselves, why we should we vote if there are no improvements in our area”, said Ngobese.

Fresh delays in attending to water and sanitation issues in eThekwini are attributed to the city’s water and sanitation department employees strike demanding better pay. On Tuesday morning, the employees joined their Durban Solid Waste colleagues in a massive protest in eThekwini. Striking employees emptied litter onto the streets on their way to City Hall to demand a salary increase.

When contacted, Mandla Maloakoane, the Strategic Executive at the Department of Water and Sanitation in eThekwini, told Inanda FM that a special meeting was in session to address issues pertaining to the strike. (Edited by Philile Masango)