The KZN area loses close to 50 percent of its purified water through pipe leaks, theft, neglect and wasteful use.

The uMngeni (Howick) municipality has been ordered to provide land, water, sanitation and temporary housing to 47 families living in an informal settlement.

The order, granted by consent in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, followed an application by the municipality for an eviction order against the families living in the Tumbleweed settlement.

The municipality argued that a school was to be built on the land that the families had invaded.

The families said they had been given permission to live on the property by the chief of the Amambuzane tribe, which owned the property through a trust.

Under the order, the families are to be provided with land, shelter and sanitation services by December 22, and are to be moved by January.

They were assisted by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, whose director of litigation, Stuart Wilson, appeared for them in court, and the shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Attorney Teboho Mosikili said that the families were pleased with the outcome of the case.

S’bu Zikode, of Abahlali baseMjondolo, called on other municipalities to follow the example set by the uMngeni Municipality.

“We wish to thank uMngeni municipality for their co-operation,” he said.

“We hope that other municipalities, especially metros like eThekwini, can follow the example of uMngeni.

“If small, rural municipalities can respect and fulfil poor people’s rights to housing and engage so successfully with shack dwellers, there is no excuse for metros (not todo so).” - The Mercury