Umgeni Water dam safety campaign in Maphumulo

UMGENI Water, in partnership with iLembe District Municipality and Maphumulo Local Municipality, held the iMvutshane Dam Safety Event in Maphumulo on Thursday, August 23 at the Dlakathi Hall.

The aim of the event was to create awareness around the utilisation of the dam by members of the community and to raise awareness on how to avoid becoming a victim of hazards encountered near water.

The event started off with a pupils activity where primary and secondary school pupils of schools neighbouring the iMvutshane Dam were taught about safety with presentations from the South African Police Service, KZN Aquatics and the African Snake Bite Institute.

The pupil’s activity also included a competition that involved creating a dam safety poster for primary schools and a dam safety research project for secondary schools.

In welcoming guests, mayor of Maphumulo Local Municipality Matozi Khuzwayo-Dlamini first expressed her condolences to the Ncalane family whose seven family members, including a baby and toddler, plunged to their death when their white Toyota Venture crashed into the iMvutshane Dam in September 2017.

“We will meet as the different spheres of government, including Umgeni Water; iLembe; Maphumulo as well as the Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison; to see how we can move forward and make the dam safer for our community,” said Khuzwayo-Damini.

Addressing the audience, chief executive officer of Umgeni Water Thami Hlongwa said water was both a beautiful and dangerous commodity, especially to those living in its vicinity.

“We also have pipes underground that can burst at any time and when they do the water is powerful enough to damage whatever is in its way, including property.

“We urge traditional leadership to place residents away from these pipes and the rest of infrastructure when allocating land to the people, especially because we often have to maintain infrastructure and it proves to be difficult to come and go as we please.

“We are available to advise leadership where the pipes are,” said Hlongwa.

Hlongwa added that Umgeni was in talks with both councils to see how to best to improve safety on the dam and how to “wipe the tears away” of the Ncalane family.

“Even though it was an accident, the dam is an Umgeni Water property so we will need to do something to show our support to the family,” he said.

Delivering his keynote address, iLembe District Municipality Mayor Siduduzo Gumede said that without the iMvutshane Dam, there would be no life in Maphumulo.

“Maphumulo relies heavily on water supply from iMvutshane Dam. We know that the supply is not enough to cater for the whole of Maphumulo because of the vastness of the land but, since July 2018, we have been looking at plans as to how we can increase the capacity of the dam,” said Gumede.

The mayor also commended Umgeni Water on their promise to help the Ncalane family in their healing process.

He said relevant stakeholders would have to meet soon to discuss how to improve the safety of the dam.

“Especially now that the season is changing and the weather will be warmer. We all know how people enjoy swimming when it’s hot,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of Amakhosi present, Inkosi Ngcobo from Maqadini said he was pleased with how the iMvutshane Dam was operating.

“My people tell me that the water they receive from the dam is even purified here in Maphumulo.

“Should there be any job opportunities that may arise, let my people be the first to be considered,” he said.