WaterCAN strongly condemns brutal police response to peaceful water protesters

WaterCAN strongly condemns brutal police response to peaceful water protesters

WaterCAN strongly condemns police violence towards water protesters, urging accountability for this assault on democratic rights.

Image: Unsplash

In a shocking display of excessive force, law enforcement opened fire on a peaceful assembly of water protesters in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Natal, on Monday, January 29, 2024. WaterCAN, at the forefront of advocating for water rights, condemns this unwarranted attack on citizens exercising their democratic right to voice concerns about chronic water outages in the northern parts of the eThekwini Municipality.

“The brutal use of rubber bullets against peaceful protesters is an appalling violation of the democratic principles we hold dear. This incident underscores a blatant lack of empathy and understanding on the part of law enforcement towards the urgent and legitimate demands of our fellow citizens for access to a fundamental human right – water,” said Dr Ferrial Adam, WaterCAN executive manager.

The incident in KZN is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence. “This marks another dark chapter in a series of heavy-handed responses by authorities to water-related protests and activism. We cannot forget the tragic events of April 2011 when Andries Tatane lost his life to rubber bullets during a water protest in the Free State. The history of violence against those advocating for water rights should serve as a stark reminder that the government’s indifference and non-compliance perpetuate a cycle of suffering,” said Adam.

Adam highlighted the systemic nature of the water conflicts. “Protests in January 2014 in Mothutlung near Brits in the North West, and the recent demonstrations around greater Johannesburg in 2023 are a direct result of water shortages, corruption, and maladministration in local government. It is evident that unless the government is held accountable for their negligence, these protests will persist.”

WaterCAN stands firm in its commitment to advocating for the rights of citizens to have access to clean and sufficient water. “We demand an immediate and thorough investigation into the use of force against peaceful water protesters. It is crucial that those responsible are held accountable for their actions. WaterCAN calls for the water supply issues in KZN to be urgently addressed, even though there have been floods and damage to infostructure, it needs urgent action as water is life,” emphasized Adam.

WaterCAN has launched a No Water/Leaks map, where residents around the country can use the portal to report water cuts or leaks in their area. This initiative will help WaterCAN develop a picture of the real extent of water supply issues in the country. Using the map is quick and easy and can be found here.


About WaterCAN:
WaterCAN is a dedicated environmental organisation committed to preserving and protecting South Africa’s water resources. With a mission to promote responsible water management and raise awareness about water quality, the organisation empowers communities to become proactive stewards of their local water sources. If you would like to support our work, kindly Donate Here.

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