Critical water infrastructure and communication networks faced no direct assault during the wave of violent unrest last week.

At the peak of what President Cyril Ramaphosa has called a failed insurrection, the State Security Agency and police insisted the unrest was driven by experienced agent provocateurs.

Lending credence to this were reports that a water treatment facility in KZN was attacked and set ablaze – a sign that those masterminding the unrest were specifically targeting infrastructure. Newzroom Afrika first reported that a water treatment plant in Pietermaritzburg was targeted and set alight on 13 July.

News24 says it has confirmed that no such attack took place.

Officials from the eThekwini (Durban) and Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) municipalities, as well as the provincial Umgeni Water board, confirmed water infrastructure, including plants and pipelines, were not attacked.

On 13 July, Icasa released a statement, imploring people to protect communications infrastructure from vandalism.

‘The authority has further received reports of vandalism of communications infrastructure, including 113 network towers in some parts of the country. Such wanton destruction of the broadcasting infrastructure and facilities represents a direct attack on the constitutional right of individuals and communities to access news and information that is accurate, unbiased, and up to date about the current crisis. The authority accordingly condemns such criminal behaviour in the strongest of terms,’ its statement read.

News24 says it has established that the majority of these stations were not vandalised or destroyed but had been pushed out of service because they could not be maintained – with technicians unable to travel through flashpoints of violence.

Full News24 report