Issued by the Corporate Stakeholder Management Unit, Office of the Chief Executive, Pietermaritzburg
On Monday, 9th March 2020, as protest action flared in Ladysmith, a WhatsApp message began circulating widely, urging consumers not to drink “water that comes out of your taps this morning because it has been poisoned”.
While the message was vague as it did not identify the nature of the purported “poison”, where or how it had been placed in the water supply system, Umgeni Water nevertheless acted swiftly on becoming aware of its existence. In line with water quality testing protocols, Umgeni Water Management sent a member of staff on the same day to Ladysmith to take samples of potable water that is produced at the Ezakheni Water Treatment Works (WTW).
This WTW is operated and maintained by Umgeni Water, while provision of drinking water directly to consumers is the responsibility of the Water Services Authority, in this instance uThukela District Municipality.