KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has apologised to the La Mercy residents’ association for water delivered by a tanker to his home.
Zikalala, this week, came under fire after a now-viral video showed a water tanker delivering water meant for the public to his home in the wake of the deadly floods in the province.
Speaking on SAfm, Zikalala issued an apology, saying it won’t happen again.
“There was a problem with water in the area and the community asked that we help. I wasn’t at home at the time, I was in Newcastle. I then called for a water tanker, which came to the area and provided water to the people. Then it provided water at my home.
“I was engaged by members of the La Mercy residents’ association and issued an apology that the water tanker went [to my] home and committed that it would never happen again,” he said.
Zikalala reiterated the water tanker did not leave community members stranded, and that next time it would park at the community hall.
La Mercy Civic and Ratepayers Association chairperson Ravi Ramsundar claimed community members were prevented from getting water from the tanker and told “the water was for the premier only”.
“This issue is more than just about corruption. This issue is about a fight for survival in the fight for access to resources to which every person is entitled as a basic human right.
“The LMRCA will not stand by idly and watch an injustice perpetrated. Nepotism and corruption must be targeted at the grassroots level and will not be tolerated,” he said.
Zikalala claimed the video was “carefully choreographed and strategically selected to create a false narrative to distract from the intervention the premier did first to communities in his neighborhood who asked him for assistance knowing he lived in the area”.
“What that video does not show or fails to mention is that I was approached by members of the community who had been struggling due to a shortage of water as a result of the floods,” he said.
Zikalala said his wife and children had collected water in buckets in the days after supply interruptions, something he was familiar with.
“The video fails to mention the tanker provided water to local residents and supplied many before filling at my home. For this person to present the video in a way that implies that only my family got water is blatant propaganda, uncalled-for, mischievous and malicious,” he said.
Zikalala also acknowledged he and his family should have queued for water like the rest of his community.