The civil rights organisation AfriForum’s legal team will urgently approach the High Court in Bloemfontein to restore the water supply to the towns in the Matjhabeng, Nala and Maquassi Hills Local Municipalities. This follows after AfriForum sent an urgent letter to Sedibeng Water on 19 October 2021 to request that the Balkfontein Water Plant restore the water supply to residents of the towns in the various municipalities. Sedibeng Water did not respond to AfriForum’s letter forcing the organisation to approach the court.
Striking workers at the plant reportedly turned off the taps due to a wage dispute with the water board. According to Lambert de Klerk, Manager for Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, it is unacceptable that workers who go on strike cause thousands of residents to be without water for days. “Access to clean water is a constitutional right and especially now during the pandemic, it is extremely important that everyone has access to clean water.”
Pleas for water are already doing the rounds and AfriForum encourages residents with access to boreholes to supply water to hospitals, clinics, old age homes and schools.
“AfriForum will fight this. Every resident has the right to clean water. Due to politics and the decay of state entities the water was cut. We cannot allow that people who pay tax regularly, be adversely affected by municipalities’ negligence and incompetence,” says Jaco Grobbelaar, AfriForum’s Head of Community Structures for the Central Region.
Eskom also informed the water board with a notice that the energy supplier will cut the power to these towns due to non-payment which means that the water plant will not be able to supply water.
“Disputes between state entities and workers should not leave residents without water. Residents are now kept hostage because local government collapsed and municipalities failed to fulfil their duties to pay for water and electricity,” says Morné Mostert, Manager for Local Government Affairs at AfriForum.