Residents in the western suburbs of Pretoria are taking a stand against inadequate service delivery by threatening to boycott rent and rate payments until their demands are met. The Lotus Gardens, Atteridgeville, and Saulsville Civic Association (Lasca) chairperson, Tshepo Mahlangu, announced the protest action, stating, “We will start by boycotting September rent until our demands are met.”
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Lasca is demanding a meeting with key officials in Tshwane’s finance departments, including Ronny Shilenge, Lesiba Thupudi, Mankwana Thobakgale, and Nthabiseng Mokete, as well as the MMC for utility services and regional operations, Themba Fosi.
The primary concerns driving this protest include insufficient water supply, poorly managed infrastructure, and inadequate resources for upgrades and maintenance, leading to water contamination and health risks for residents. Many residents in Atteridgeville have been forced to collect water from tankers using buckets due to empty reservoirs and unreliable water supply.
The blame for the water shortages has been shifting between the Tshwane metro and Rand Water, with each entity pointing fingers at the other. Atteridgeville Ward 71 councillor Phasha Phasha places responsibility on the DA-led coalition government for failing to address the crisis proactively, causing immense difficulties for residents.
On the other hand, Ward 1 councillor Leon Kruyshaar argues that Rand Water has been limiting the water supply to certain reservoirs, exacerbating the problem.
The ongoing illegal strike and issues with water leaks have further complicated the situation, with fewer resources available to address the pressing concerns.
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) weighed in on the issue, highlighting the public health risks associated with water shortages, including the spread of diseases like cholera and challenges related to hygiene, especially for young women and girls.
The IWMI emphasised that this problem is not unique to Tshwane but is widespread across South Africa due to inadequate infrastructure, operations, and maintenance budget. They pointed out that about 37% of treated water supplied to municipalities over the past decade has been lost to network leaks, a significant issue affecting communities’ access to water, a constitutional right.
In response to these challenges, the IWMI is working on smart water management solutions, such as satellite and drone imagery, to detect leaks. Residents are urged to conserve water, repair leaks, and report burst pipes immediately.
As of the time of publication, the Tshwane metro has not yet responded to inquiries regarding the Lasca boycott threat.
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Photo: Supplied by Rekord