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By Ilse de Lange


Residents ask court again to turn on taps

Municipality blames leaking pipes and damage caused by illegal miners.

The Blyvooruitzicht mining community near Carletonville has turned to the High Court in Pretoria for a second time after their water supply was cut off, despite a court order.

The community obtained a court order last year interdicting the Merafong municipality from discontinuing their piped water supply.

The municipality disconnected their water supply as the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, which closed in 2013, were in arrears with more than R200 million on its water account.

It briefly restored the water supply after the liquidators agreed to pay R600 000, but then again cut off the water.

The municipality was, in terms of the order, permitted to provide a minimum flow of 60% water supply during set hours and was ordered to work with provincial and national government to come up with a plan to restore its water and sewerage systems.

The Residents Committee was ordered to pay R150 monthly per household to the municipality.

The community, assisted by Lawyers for Human Rights, returned to the court this week after their water supply was, since August, so drastically reduced that most of the 900 households were effectively without water.

They sought an order to force the municipality and Rand Water to restore their supply, to stop them from disconnecting and to supply them with 65 000 kiloliters of water per month at a 100% flow for six hours per day.

The residents said that when they complained, they were told it was the result of them wasting water, leaking pipes and illegal miners damaging the pipes, but the real cause was that not enough water was reaching the reservoir.

The municipality and Rand Water in court papers blamed each other for the problem.

The municipality said it was Rand Water which had reduced its supply, but Rand Water said it was entitled to reduce the flow as it was owed R14 million and was only responsible for supplying water up to the municipal connection points and was not liable for its reticulation.

The municipality said it was willing to supply residents with five times more water than they actually needed, even though they were on private land, but they would also have to step up and make a concerted effort to stop water wastage. Judgment was reserved. – news@citizen.co.za

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