Johannesburg - AfriForum was granted an urgent order against the Vhembe district municipality by the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday, forcing it to supply water to Makhado residents.

“This is a big victory for us,” lawyer for the civil rights organisation, Werner Human, said.

They had asked the municipality to provide water to the residents of Makhado, formerly Louis Trichardt, as the mandated water provider, Human said.

However, the municipality ignored the request. Residents had been without water periodically for three-and-a-half years, but matters got worse the last few months.

Human said the municipality met them on Monday and the terms of the order were decided.

“This order forces the Vhembe municipality to do their work. AfriForum will monitor the adherence to the time frames set out in the order and keep up the pressure on the municipality.

“The order sets a national precedent for supplying water and service delivery in general as the order commits the municipality to reporting progress from building infrastructure, to making running water available to the Louis Trichardt community.”

In terms of the order, running water had to be partly restored by December.

Chairman of AfriForum Makhado, Wally Schultz said: “I think it's a landmark case and it sets a precedent for municipalities nationwide.”

Sapa