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27/05/24 | 3:54 pm

South Africans face water crisis as Durban taps run dry ahead of elections this week

South Africa’s coastal city of Durban, known for its popular beaches and warm climate, is facing a severe water crisis ahead of national elections, with residents suffering from prolonged dry taps and poor sanitation services.

The shortages, which some communities have endured for months, have been blamed on mismanagement and alleged corruption by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party that runs KwaZulu-Natal province, where Durban is located.

In the northern suburbs, people have relied on water donations organized by community groups like Voice of Phoenix.

“This is a slow death,” said Vassie Govender, a community leader, adding that elderly residents have died from illnesses caused by having to carry heavy water buckets.

The crisis has taken a financial toll too, with households having to buy drinking water daily.

The ANC has been accused of failing to address Durban’s crumbling infrastructure. Analysts say the party could lose its majority in KwaZulu-Natal in the May 29 general election due to widespread dissatisfaction over service delivery.

“The ANC is skating on thin ice at this point because of these service delivery challenges, then opposition political parties are capitalizing on that,” said Bheki Mngomezulu, a political analyst.

However, he cautioned the ANC has deep roots and has bounced back before. Its fate will depend on whether opponents can present credible alternatives.

Durban’s woes have been compounded by severe flooding that has damaged infrastructure. The water crisis highlights South Africa’s struggle to provide basic services more than 30 years after the end of apartheid.

(Reuters)

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