Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
19 Oct 2016
6:10 am

Merafong can’t cut miners’ water supply

Ilse de Lange

The community turned to the court after the municipality first disconnected their water supply last year because the mine was in arrears with over R200 million on its water account.

Photo: Randburg Sun

The Merafong municipality has been interdicted from discontinuing the piped water supply to the Blyvooruitzicht mining community and was ordered to come up with a plan to repair the water and sewerage infrastructure.

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Judge Jody Kollapen yesterday granted the order in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria following an application by residents of the villages surrounding the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, which was placed under liquidation in 2013.

The community turned to the court after the municipality first disconnected their water supply last year because the mine was in arrears with over R200 million on its water account. After an agreement was reached the water supply was restored and the mine’s liquidators agreed to pay R600 000 to the municipality.

It was again disconnected, whereafter the court in June granted an interim interdict that the piped water must be restored. The community, with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights, this week obtained a court order forcing the municipality to work with provincial and national government to come up with a plan to restore their water and sewerage systems.

An order to make all endeavours to pay R150 per household per month to the municipality as a contribution towards the supply of water services was given to the residents committee. The community argued that the municipality had acted unreasonably, refused to engage with them about the problem and continued to threaten them with the disconnection of their only water supply.

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They maintained the municipality had a duty to fulfil its obligations to realise their rights to water and that the supply of a bare minimum of water through water tankers was not enough. They pointed out that the mine’s liquidators had offered to surrender the property to the municipality.