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Call for officials to face jail time for non-compliance with court order

- Lee-Anne Bruce

Client communities from five Limpopo villages are calling for officials to face jail time for failing to comply with a court order to provide water

Residents of five Limpopo villages are calling for the Executive Mayor and Municipal Manager of the Sekhukhune District Municipality to face jail time for failing to comply with a court order. The villages have not had proper access to water since 2009 when the Municipality cut off the existing water supply. They were forced to walk long distances to collect water from springs shared with animals, which put their safety and health at risk. After approaching the Court in 2015, the Municipality provided a limited supply of water in tanks.

Assisted by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the communities went back to court last month to compel the Municipality to provide them with an adequate interim water supply while a dam is built in the area. The Municipality agreed to provide an extra 37 water tanks to the villages, to fill the existing tanks every weekday and to provide drinkable water through the reticulation system twice a week. The Municipality has not complied with the order and the communities have been forced to institute contempt of court proceedings.

“This is not the first time the Municipality has shown a complete disregard for the authority of the Court,” says Zeenat Sujee, attorney at CALS. “Each time we reach an agreement with the Municipality, we have to go back to court to hold them in contempt. We are asking the Court to find them personally liable and consider jail time as a last resort.”

The matter will be heard in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday 12 September at 10:00.

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