Limpopo residents win water case

2012-10-15 20:00

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ruled in favour of residents of Lebowakgomo, in Limpopo, who took the local authorities to court over water supply problems.

Judge Francis Legodi granted an order on Monday giving the Capricorn district municipality and Lepelle-Nkumpi local municipality a year to replace and repair all leaking water pipes and defective water meters in the Lebowakgomo Zone A area.

Pending the repair and replacement, or until reliable and accurate water accounts could be issued, residents of Zone A would have to pay only a flat rate of R70 a household a month for water consumption.

For the period between August 2009 and September 2011, they would be held responsible only for a rate of R50 a month.

The court ordered the Capricorn municipality not to refuse to issue proof of residence to any resident in Lebowakgomo because of outstanding water accounts, and not to refuse proof of good standing to Zone A's residents.

Residents complained that water consumption had become impossible because the water pipes and connections had fallen into a total state of disrepair.

They complained the district municipality was holding back letters of good standing, which water users needed to open bank accounts and obtain loans.

The SA National Civic Organisation took the municipalities to court on behalf of residents after their numerous complaints about incorrect water billing fell on deaf ears.

The district municipality turned down repeated offers that residents pay a flat rate for water until the dysfunctional billing was sorted out.

The municipalities conceded that the area had water leakages and shortages because of ageing infrastructure, and admitted that the asbestos pipes installed by the previous administration 30-years ago needed to be replaced.

Morwa Consulting Engineers, which was appointed last year to assess the problem, reported that 30% of Zone A's inhabitants had leakages and water shortages, and that more than 2800 water meters were out-dated and malfunctioning.

Legodi said it was clear that no reliance could be placed on municipal water accounts, particularly for Zone A.

"The duty to supply or provide water is one thing, but the duty to issue accurate billing for the consumption or utilisation of such water is another.

"You cannot issue incorrect, inaccurate and unreliable water accounts and expect water consumers to be obliged to pay such accounts," he said.

  • SharonE - 2012-10-15 20:06

    It is a disgrace that the people have to take their govenment to court to remind them what their duties are. The voters put their faith in these officials when they cast their votes, and have now been forgotten....

      RhymeLegend - 2012-10-15 20:21

      Guess we have to take the government to court for all basic needs... If it's not water it's text books.

      sani.ghana.3 - 2012-10-15 22:11

      legal battles strikes and killings are the future of the people, its the only way to force government to listen, but soon there will be nothing left to burn. This government is not ANC, they wear the colours but they speak another language, this government has betrayed the people and they must go

      makgale.makgalemele - 2012-10-16 10:42

      Solution: vote for somebody else. Continue voting for ANC or abscond at our own peril. They will continue killing each other, eating our money while we march for better services, salaries, land etc. We will only come into equation when it is elections time. Sharon, courts are for criminals not people we voluntarily elected to eat our money. It is unfortunate that they are now eating each other. Aaaaag!

  • george.pistorius - 2012-10-15 20:09

    Funny they did'nt destroy anything...

      patient.mothiba - 2012-10-15 20:19

      Limpopo is generally under-serviced Province, but it is very rare to hear vandalising property except those who were motivated by political forces...

      makgale.makgalemele - 2012-10-16 10:51

      Ngwana'Mothiba, they are not politically motivated. Lack of service is lack of service. Every year budget is allocated to improve services in Limpopo, but what do we get.Niks!Now we must cry for boMalema and boGwangwa! Aowa man, this is not on. PAC, AZAPO ,COPE DA raise your hand to save us for we are dying like our African neighbours.

  • lebogang.matlala.56 - 2012-10-15 20:26

    Amen J Legodi

  • desertratbkf - 2012-10-15 20:35

    Utter horrific! And my sentiments are agreeable! They will continue to vote the vermin promises right back!!!! Sometimes, deal with it!

  • musamuskid - 2012-10-15 20:54

    What else is new...#New South Africa

  • david.mbombi - 2012-10-16 00:33

    its useless exercise nothing wil b done, these fat-ass don't care abt us, nw dey a fyting who s gona win @ mangaung 2 come n play wit our minds. Dese politicians a selfish.

  • guy.snelling.3 - 2012-10-16 07:09

    "...installed by the previous administration 30-years ago..." Why "previous administration"? Don't try to blame others when you have had nearly 20 years to sort the problems out yourself. Or are you trying to blame the whites again for your ineptitude?

  • andrez.kolesky - 2012-10-16 08:36

    Due to a water shortage in Lebowakgomo, Limpopo swimming pools have announced they are closing lanes 7 and 8.

  • john.cryink - 2012-10-16 10:42

    How many of these people pay for their services I wonder if the court asked them. Who is going to pay for all pipe replacements. The courts in their judgements must inform where the money to implement the judgement comes from and if the complainents are paying for this.

      ludlowdj - 2012-10-16 11:22

      Irrelevant. The government and by proxy local municipalities are responsible for the supply and maintenance of infrastructure end of story. You argument would imply that prior to the end of apartheid, whites weren't paying for the infrastructure, they paid for it then, they pay for it now. Unemployment and the novel idea of blacks having to pay for their services is of course a valid point and must be addressed, whoever that has nothing to do with the infrastructure or the basic human right to water, which is internationally protected, even if local municipalities spit on the bill of rights as easily as they spit on the masses they supposedly fought to liberate.

  • john.cryink - 2012-10-16 16:25

    So Capricorn residents do not have to pay for their infrastructure now in a shrinking job market and tax payer base the tax payer must fit the infrastruction bill? With years of axperience a wise judge of the court can tell us who must pay for all of this.

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