Rand Water dragged to court over water reductions

Henry

The civil rights organization AfriForum brought an urgent application in court against Rand Water after the water supplier’s decision to reduce water supply to several municipalities. In its court application, AfriForum requests an interdict obliging Rand Water to restore full water supply to the municipalities concerned.

Rand Water made this decision because of the municipalities’ debt account, which together amounts to around R3 billion.

AfriForum’s legal team sent a reminder to Rand Water last week demanding that water supply be fully restored to six municipalities, including Emfuleni local municipality, Rand West local municipality and Merafong City local municipality in Gauteng; the Ngwathe local municipality in the Free State and the Govan Mbeki local municipality in Mpumalanga.

The organization believes that access to clean water is a basic human right; it is essential for health, sanitation and overall quality of life. AfriForum also says that in most cases residents faithfully pay their water bills to the municipalities, but these local authorities fail to pay them over to Rand Water.

“The decision to reduce water supply – even though it may have been driven by operational or financial constraints – has far-reaching implications for the affected communities, especially the most vulnerable. Rand Water has placed an unnecessary burden on the already vulnerable communities, which exacerbates existing socio-economic challenges,” says Petrus Coetzee, AfriForum’s adviser for local government affairs.

“While we recognize the challenges that water providers face, we believe that such decisions must be made with careful consideration for the well-being of the communities they serve. Cooperation between water suppliers, government authorities and civil society organizations is essential to find sustainable solutions to water supply challenges,” says Coetzee.