eThekwini Municipality employee seen hitting water pipe in viral video

An eThekwini Water and Sanitation employee using a hammer on a water pipe moments before it bursts. Picture: Screen grab of video

An eThekwini Water and Sanitation employee using a hammer on a water pipe moments before it bursts. Picture: Screen grab of video

Published Feb 22, 2024


eThekwini Municipality is investigating an incident where an employee from the Water and Sanitation Department is seen in a video, which has gone viral, hitting a water pipe with a tool moments before it bursts.

In the video, after the pipe bursts, water rapidly starts flooding the rectangular hole and the employee is seen frantically climbing out.

Moments before the pipe burst, another employee is heard warning him in Zulu to watch where he positions his face because the water would shoot out.

Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said the City was aware of the video in which an employee was seen installing a new connection for an individual consumer, also known as a domestic pipeline.

Sisilana said this was not a major pipeline that supplied water to thousands of residents and businesses.

“This incident is also not linked to the water challenges affecting some residents in the north. An update on the work that is under way to address water challenges in the north was communicated during a media briefing a few days ago by the municipality and the national Department of Water and Sanitation,” she said.

She said weekly war room meetings were held where municipal employees updated community representatives about the ongoing interventions, and this was part of maintaining constant communication with affected residents

“The municipality’s Water and Sanitation Unit has highly qualified technical teams, which include engineers and plumbers who are committed to service excellence.

“The circumstances surrounding this isolated incident are being investigated,” said Sisilana.

Meanwhile, the City, in its efforts to root out fraud and corruption within the municipality, said three employees were arrested this week.

On Wednesday, two municipal employees were arrested for alleged theft of diesel for personal use.

The City said the arrests were linked to a video showing plastic containers filled with stolen diesel.

“In heeding eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda’s clarion call of ensuring a fraud-and-corrupt-free municipality, the metro police have arrested two employees suspected of stealing and illegally transporting municipal diesel for their personal use,” it said.

The City said while it could confirm the arrest of two men, no further information could be divulged at this stage as investigations were at an advanced stage.

It said the investigation aimed to uncover the full extent of the operation, identify potential accomplices, and gather evidence to secure a prosecution.

“We are committed to ensuring a resolution to this case so that those linked to this elaborate scheme face the full might of the law. We believe the investigation will lead to more arrests,” said metro police acting head Sbonelo Mchunu.

This came a day after a 30-year-old eThekwini municipal surveillance operator was arrested at the Municipal Disaster Management Centre in Durban after he was allegedly caught on surveillance footage vandalising and stealing CCTV infrastructure.

The municipality urged members of the public to report any suspicious and fraudulent activities which compromised service delivery to the City’d Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) at 0800 202020.

“All services rendered by the CIIU are free, and the identity of the whistle-blowers is protected.”

The Mercury