Khayelitsha residents protest against water cuts
Cape Town – A group of Khayelitsha residents held a peaceful protest against water cuts, allegedly implemented by the City, over the past two weeks.
Considering the public ban on large groups of people, less than 10 residents demonstrated at the Khayelitsha Training Centre yesterday.
According to the residents, the City cut the water supply to the households due to account debt, and residents were now concerned about where they would get water from, after the announcement of a 21-day lockdown in the country.
On Friday the City announced the temporary suspension of new water restrictions, for those who were in arrears with their municipal accounts and facing debt management actions. Community leader Qaba Mbola said water supply to his home was cut for more than two weeks.
“We approached the City regarding the water cut issue in our area. The City’s response was that if we are able to buy food, we might as well pay our bills and I found that insulting, because I survive by temporary jobs.
“We are now almost reaching the eye of the storm. There is going to be a lockdown soon and we are concerned about our hygiene. How are we supposed to protect ourselves from Covid-19, if the City cuts off water?” asked Mbola.
Mayoral committee member for finance Ian Neilson said it was unclear whether there was a lack of water due to water supply interruptions, if the water pressure was playing a role or if the customers were restricted to a running trickle-flow of water, due to municipal debt.
“If it is the latter, water is not cut off.
“It is restricted to a running trickle-flow after numerous warning letters have been sent to pay water debt and efforts to engage residents on debt management arrangements have not been successful.
"The water is not cut off but the flow is reduced so that people can still use the water for hygiene and drinking. We do this to prevent enormous water wastage and also to ensure that the municipality can still carry on functioning to provide services.
“Customers are asked to contact a City cash office to make arrangements for reconnection.
“There is no need to protest,” said Neilson.