South Africa: Musina residents say they are fed up with water cuts

Anger against the municipality which cuts off electricity when people do not pay their water bills

Residents of three municipalities in Musina demonstrated on Friday against months of daily water cuts and the lack of tankers.

Protesters also objected to the municipality cutting off electricity when people fail to pay their water bills.

The mayor listened to the demands and accepted a memorandum from Musina To The Front, a community organization.

People queuing in Musina Municipality to buy electricity and pay their water bills were surprised to be prevented from doing so by the Musina To The Front community structure last week.

“I don’t know what’s going on here. My electricity won’t last all day,” said a woman in the queue, who declined to give her name.

Forty members of Musina To the Front gathered at the municipality on Friday to deliver a memorandum of demands to Mayor Mihloti Muhlope. They said they had had enough of the water cuts in Musina townships.

Residents said that since August their water supply has been restricted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. This is done to increase the levels in the water tanks.

The municipality advised residents facing water shortages outside the prescribed restriction period to contact their neighborhood councilor for water tank services.

Peter Jack, president of Musina To The Front, said Matswale, Campbell and Harper experience blackouts on a daily basis.

The organization wants the responsibility for water supply to be removed from the Vhembe district municipality and placed under the control of the local municipality of Musina.

In the meantime, they want more tankers. They say there is only one truck for the three townships.

The mayor received and signed the memorandum. She promised to respond within five business days. The demonstrators then authorized the resumption of municipal services.

Protesters are also angry that the municipality cuts off electricity if people don’t pay the water bills. They say the electricity tariff is too high.

Sarietjie Sakala was in tears when she told the mayor that her electricity was cut in August and again last week.

“My mother, who was the breadwinner, passed away in January of this year. She was paying the tariffs and we really can’t afford to pay the bills. Me and my two siblings are unemployed. family allowance … Our water bill this month was over R1,000. I paid R600 on September 14 only to find out again that electricity was blocked again on September 24, “Sakala told the mayor.

Daniel Dube from Matswale said he had a huge water bill that he couldn’t pay and the municipality had blocked his electricity. “This means that I will be without electricity for the rest of my life,” Dube said.

Wilson Dzebu, spokesperson for Musina Municipality, said the municipality bills electricity in accordance with tariffs set by the national energy regulator.

Regarding the power cut for non-payment of water bills, the municipality will respond by responding to the memorandum, Dzebu said.

“The Municipality of Musina trusts the Municipality of the District of Vhembe as the water authority, but recognizes that there are water supply problems which are being identified,” said Dzebu.

Asked about these challenges, Dzebu referred us to the Vhembe District Municipality.

Vhembe District Municipality spokesman Matodzi Ralushai responded that Musina town requires its drilling system to be fully functional, but currently 19 of the 36 boreholes are out of order.

“The supply by tanker trucks will continue … The delivery schedule will be communicated to the neighborhood councilors while the communication will inform the community of the water condition,” said Ralushai.

Updated on 2021-10-04 12:33 The article was updated with a response from the spokesperson for the municipality of Vhembe district.

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