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MRPA furious about possible water cuts

These water cuts will come into effect in a few weeks' time.

The Merafong Ratepayers Association (MRPA) says it is not happy with the way Rand Water is handling its complaints against possible water cuts to Merafong due to the municipality’s outstanding account.

“Rand Water circulated an undated notice notifying the residents of Merafong of its intention to reduce the bulk supply of potable water. This notice came to our attention on Sunday, 5 May 2024. On 16 May 2024, MRPA submitted written representations to Rand Water. The Municipal Manager of Merafong City Local Municipality was included in the email,” says the association’s secretary, Charl-Marié Peché-Kroeze.

“On 30 May 2024, a second notice was published in the local newspaper, again calling all affected members of the public to submit written representations on why Rand Water should not proceed with the contemplated reduction.

“Rand Water has failed to acknowledge receipt of our first representations, has failed to consider our representations, and is now again requesting representations.

“Clearly, no attention was given to our first representations, and no attention will be given to them. MCLM has failed, in terms of both notices, to initiate a public participation process on how the 80% of water received will be prioritised to minimise the impact on vulnerable people. MRPA anticipated the intergovernmental financial dispute and submitted, on 13 March 2024, to CoGTA and National Treasury, recommendations to avert the crisis through the redirection of conditional grants already published in terms of DORA to meet the obligations towards Eskom and Rand Water.

Our representations to Rand Water in terms of the first notice included, among others, that:
a. Rand Water has failed in terms of section 51(1)(b)(i) of the Public Finance Management Act, Act 1 of 1999, to take effective and appropriate steps to collect all revenue due to it.
b. Rand Water has failed in terms of section 41(3) of the Constitution and the provisions of IRFA to make every reasonable effort to settle an intergovernmental dispute in which it is involved.
c. The crisis can be averted if MCLM implements their credit control policy.
d. The implementation of the reduction will be unreasonable and irrational and will be an infringement of the constitutional rights of residents who are actually paying. The residents of Merafong will be subjected to a situation that violates their constitutional rights, through no fault of their own.

The Constitutional Court has already ruled, in the case of Eskom, that such actions as contemplated by Rand Water are unconstitutional. The same will apply to Rand Water.

e. Vulnerable residents, for example, the old age home in Fochville, which is situated in the high-lying area of Fochville, will be out of water for several days. Rand Water’s proposed reduction is a blatant infringement of the rights of people who are paying. This proposed reduction will have an adverse impact on the most vulnerable people.

Rand Water has allowed Merafong to not pay its account since November 2022. It is nonsensical to aver now that MCLM failed to give sufficient evidence of its inability to pay for water services. They have not been able to service the account since November 2022. What more evidence do they require?

MRPA will again follow up on our representations made and will monitor the situation. Our members’ rights remain reserved,” says Peché-Kroeze.

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