Residents of Phoenix up in arms due to unannounced water and electricity outages


Residents of Phoenix north of Durban are up in arms due to unannounced water and electricity outages that sometimes last up to three days.

At the weekend, residents put up burning barricades on the Phoenix Highway, a major route connecting Phoenix and Verulam with the N2 highway and a major shopping centre. The situation has since returned to normal.

Phoenix Highway north of Durban still has rubble on the sides of the road after residents took to the streets at the weekend, complaining about unannounced water and electricity outages.

The residents say they endured prolonged power cuts, and they have also been affected by water cuts for months. 29-year-old Samantha Naidoo, who has been living in a complex for the past seven years, is a mother of a 13-year-old girl, and is also taking care of her sickly mother. Naidoo says they are sometimes forced to throw away food that has gone off due to electricity cuts.

“Our water problem for this past few days is it goes sometime early in the day, sometimes later so it’s very unpredictable. You never know when it’s going to go.  As load shedding everybody is going through it’s Stage 4, Stage 6, but since Friday 4:15 p.m, we had no electricity.  And we also had no communication so nobody told us what is going on until last night, so a lot of our food went off. I budget myself month to month and buy. All my things going off I don’t know whether today the 12th or 13th but pay day is so far away, and you have school to see to. Nobody is giving you that money back; nobody’s giving you that food back. The community is suffering, we cannot afford for things like this to happen,” says Samantha Naidoo.

Naidoo says they have been living under these conditions for months.

Another resident, Morgan Pillay says they get no word from the municipality about the outages.

“At times you get both switched off at the same time, now we’re going into an electric re surge whereby we go around up to eight hours a day. Now with the temperatures that we’re experiencing, the food in the freezer and fridges are diminishing and so who is going to compensate for this. Well at times you get water going out for two to three days, sometimes at the weekends, from Friday until Sunday afternoon, there is no water. At times to get that at 12 during the midday, and the water is switched off. Sometimes this running out until the next day in the morning,” says Morgan Pillay.

Solve water problems

Last week, Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu recommissioned a 340-million litre reservoir that will supply water to high-lying areas in the north of Durban including parts of Phoenix. The reservoir has been out of service since 2019. eThekwini municipal spokesperson, Musa Mayisela says they are optimistic that this reservoir will solve water problems in areas in the north of Durban.

“Unfortunately it’s the circumstances that are beyond our control. I think that everyone is fully aware that we are on the grip of unrelenting load shedding that is impacting negatively on our system. So each sound is load shedding when the electricity comes back you will have instances where by are mini sub-stations are going to trip because remember the system is not designed to be switched on and off. But also when it comes to the issues of water. Recently we have re-commissioned Reservoir, three which is a very big storage that is going to assist us to arrest the current problem when it comes to water issues in the areas of Phoenix,” Mayisela added.

Mayisela has urged residents to refrain from using violent protests to resolve problems. He has warned that when residents resort to violence, municipal employees feel intimidated when they try to visit areas to attend to the outages.

Durban residents relieved after two water pipelines were restored 13 January 2023:

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