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The civil rights organisation AfriForum and the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Residents (KCR) expressed their shock and dismay after an acting judge had ruled in the North West High Court in Mahikeng that the water and sewage plants in Koster and Swartruggens were to be handed back to the Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality. Moreover, the Court found that Joseph Mogale, Kgetlengrivier’s Municipal Manager, was not guilty of contempt of court.

The plants will be handed back to the municipality by 12:00 today.

According to Carel van Heerden, Chairperson of the KCR, residents will appeal each ruling. “Judge F.S. Gura’s brave ruling in December to give the community the responsibility of managing the plants themselves was made undone by this ruling,” Van Heerden says.

Van Heerden emphasises that the municipality will now be put in control of plants that operate like well-oiled machines. “The community has just gotten used to reliable provision of clean water. However, they are now once again at the mercy of the municipality and Magalies Water, who are responsible for the eventual collapse of the plants and the subsequent water crisis last year,” Van Heerden says.

According to Johan Kruger, Head of Community Development at AfriForum, communities are fed up with questionable court rulings, poor administration and ongoing corruption and wasting of taxpayers’ money. “The state conceded that the Municipal Manager had not complied with the court order. We find the court’s ruling unfathomable. It sends a message that municipal officers will go unpunished for mismanagement and public negligence,” Kruger says.

Kruger argues that the time has come for communities to stand up against a plundering government. “Communities will simply start to stand up spontaneously against municipalities that steal and waste taxpayer’s money to the detriment of residents’ basic rights. Spontaneous tax revolts are most probably in store for government,” Kruger predicts.

Click on this link for background information on the court case:

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