It is with great sadness that we, at IOPSA, have observed the outbreaks of social unrest, rioting and looting over the past few days. These actions have seriously affected the ability of plumbers and plumbing suppliers in KZN and Gauteng to provide services to their communities. Plumbing is an essential service and these actions mean that not only are many plumbers unable to earn a living but communities are being left without water and adequate sanitation – a serious health concern. In a water scarce country, we can ill afford to lose vital water to leaks which are now going unrepaired. Material supplies are also being severely constrained and if the situation continues this will lead to further delays in the future.
We condemn the wanton destruction of property and the threat posed to innocent civilians by riotous mobs, in the strongest possible terms. Several plumbing suppliers’ stores have been looted and at least 1 plumbers’ vehicle was torched. In these difficult times these illegal actions could very well lead to further job losses.
The National government has commissioned the South African Police Services and the South African National Defence Force to calm the situation, to urgently quell the unrest, and to return law and order to our affected cities, towns, and communities.
Our immediate focus is on ensuring the safety of all those in the plumbing industry, while working with law enforcement agencies to ensure that everything is being done to restore calm and order in the affected areas. It must be noted that service delivery continues without disruption in most other areas of the country.
We appreciate the anxiety and stress that this causes, and the extreme disruption to clients. We implore all those working in the industry to take extra precautions in protecting themselves and their staff and call on the affected communities for calm. Whatever the grievances, violence and criminality are not the answer.
To all IOPSA members, the plumbing community, and the public, please remain calm and allow law enforcement to do their work. Look after yourselves and your families, we will get through this!