A community member was shot during a protest over water outages in Umzinto, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Monday.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala confirmed that the victim was shot in the leg.
She said about 150 people started blocking roads with burning tires from 4 am, adding that the road leading to the Umzinto town was closed for most of the day.
“Police are still on the scene to monitor and stabilize the situation,” she said on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, community activist Ash Moodley alleged that it was people from Riverside Park who shot at the group that was protesting.
He said the shooting happened after they handed over their memorandum of grievances.
“We met with Ugu District Municipality’s leadership and they assured us that since we have handed over the memorandum, we won’t have water outages and they left. But after they left, the shooting started,” said Moodley.
He added that the road that was initially blockaded would be closed until the person who fired the shots was found.
“We are not here violently, we wanted water to be restored in our taps but now we also want justice for the innocent people who were injured,” said Moodley.
Residents, who had been battling with an intermittent supply of water and stoppages, from areas including Ghandinagar, Hazelwood, Nkonkas, and Roseville [Sanathan, Mistake Farm and Farm Isonti signed the petition submitted to Ugu officials.
Moodley said they had been struggling with issues since 2021.
He said they were standing in solidarity with the affected community because the water was a basic need for every single resident in South Africa.
He added: “There are people from all communities – we are standing in solidarity to state that if Ugu District Municipality fails to provide the services that we are paying for then they need to go under administration because they are the middle man at the moment.
“They are getting water supply from Umgemi Water, so if they can’t do their jobs they need to go under administration and be controlled by people who can give us the services that we are paying for.”
On Monday the office of KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, announced that he would be in the Ugu district on Tuesday to address the water issues in the area.
“The premier’s visit will create a platform for stakeholders representing their respective constituencies to robustly and frankly reflect on the water crisis in order to delve deeper into the causal factors and oversee the implementation of the Water turnaround plan for Ugu District,” read the notice from Zikalala’s office
He would be accompanied by the MEC of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs Ravi Pillay, MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka as well as the mayors of local municipalities and Councillors.