On 2 September 2020, Bloemwater reduced its water supply to the Mangaung Metro. Municipality because of a payment dispute. This caused low water pressure in our water infrastructure, which resulted in little to no water access in many high-lying areas – robbing us of our basic human right to water.
The same situations arose in mid-2019 when water supply was reduced by Bloemwater for non-payment from the MMM. After receiving overwhelming support from the community legal steps (in the form of interdicts) were taken by the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association and Trots Pellissier. As a result, an agreement was struck with Bloemwater stating that Bloemwater would give users 30-days’ notice to allow users the opportunity to represent themselves before water supply is affected. Moreover, if Bloemwater were to go forward with the reduction, they are not to reduce the water supply to the point where users would not have water at all.
After the 2 September water supply reduction, we decided to take drastic legal action to prevent any future water reduction as a result of a payment dispute. Although Bloemwater and the MMM reached a payment agreement shortly thereafter, we predict the pattern of non-payment will continue. Therefore, we aim to take on section 4(5) of the Water Services Act (see below). Section 4(5) does not recognise that a payment dispute between two government water providers impacts our human right to water as stated in the constitution. Section 4(5) thus appears to be defective and we wish to test its constitutionality in court.
4(5) Where one water services institution provides water services to another water services institution, it may not limit or discontinue those services for reasons of non-payment, unless it has given at least 30 days’ notice in writing of its intention to 50
limit water services or 60 days’ notice in writing of its intention to discontinue those water services to—
(a) the other water services institution;
(b) the relevant Province: and
(c) the Minister.
Current institutions involved: the Fichardt Park Neighbourhood Association, Trots Pellissier, The Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools (FEDSAS), Bunker Hills Investments 250 (Pty) Ltd., De Stijl Gariep hotel CC, Stonebridge Trading 15 (Pty) Ltd., and Forever Resorts (Pty) Ltd. Bezuidenhouts Incorporated is preparing the application on behalf of these institutions, in cooperation with the Centre for Human Rights at the University of the Free State.
Financial contribution of a minimum of R 100.00 can be paid directly into the FNA account.
Please use Legal fund and neighbourhood as the reference.
Account Name: Fichardtpark Neighbourhood Association
Account number: 9258 718 185