City flouts ruling over water

2009-11-24 00:00

IF you take the Msunduzi Municipality to court for infringing your basic human rights to have access to water and the judge rules in your favour, don’t be surprised if they disregard the ruling and still fail to restore your water supply.

This is the reality for 49 Zimbabwean refugees sharing a house in the city, whose victory against the municipality failed to achieve the desired result.

According to documents filed during a hearing at the Pietermaritzburg High Court last Thursday, the municipality cut the refugees’ water supply without notice in mid-September.

They then sought legal counsel and despite numerous letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings with municipal representatives regarding the restoration of the water supply, the termination was upheld.

“Due to there being no water supply at all, the building cannot be cleaned and continues to become more infested each day … the building contains dirt, used female menstrual pads, used condoms, vomit, broken bottles and food wrapping,” state the papers.

The document also says that some of the refugees’s children have resorted to quenching their thirst by drinking contaminated river water, resulting in disease and infection.

Lawyers representing the refugees took the matter to court last Thursday and the judge, finding that the municipality was contravening certain sections of the Bill of Rights and the Water Services Act, ruled in their favour.

According to the papers, the judge ordered that the municipality restore the refugees’ water supply and settle their attorney’s fees.

Despite the ruling, the municipality has failed to comply and the refugees are still without their water supply.

The papers state that the court has given the municipality until February 18 next year to show cause, if there is any, as to why the judgment should not be upheld.

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