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Rosettenville residents demand urgent reconnection of water

- Lee-Anne Bruce

CALS represents residents from Rosettenville in Johannesburg whose water supply has been unlawfully disconnected by Johannesburg Water

[UPDATE: The Court ordered that our clients' water supply must be reconnected the same day and awarded costs against the City of Johannesburg and Johannesburg Water]

On Friday, 4 June, the High Court in Johannesburg is set to hear an urgent application brought by a group of residents from Rosettenville. The residents’ water supply was unlawfully disconnected by Johannesburg Water over a week ago. Represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the residents have approached the Court to have their water urgently reconnected.

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) represents a group of residents from Rosettenville in Johannesburg, who have had no access to water since last Wednesday, 26 May, when Johannesburg Water disconnected their supply. The reason given for this disconnection is that the account of the properties where they live are in arrears – something which is not in their control.

CALS has been working with the residents for about four years as they have faced eviction from their homes by the owners of the properties on at least three occasions during that time. The City of Johannesburg has so far failed to provide alternative accommodation for those who need it.

We are approaching the High Court urgently this week on their behalf in an effort to have their water supply reconnected. We argue that the residents have an existing right to water and that the City of Johannesburg and its agency Johannesburg Water have a constitutional obligation to provide that water. The residents’ living conditions have been made almost unbearable without water, which has made it difficult for them to attend work and school and has put them at a heightened risk of developing COVID-19.

“Many of the residents are children and older people,” says Vuyolethu Mntonintshi from CALS. “They should not have their health and education compromised simply because they are unable to pay and the owners of the property where they live want them to leave. We strongly feel that the only just and equitable solution would be for the Court to intervene to put a stop to this.”

The matter is set to be heard virtually by the High Court in Johannesburg on Friday, 4 June 2021.

Read more in our papers here.

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