Press statement: Court action averted with settlement in Blyvooruitzicht water crisis

Less than 24 hours before an urgent high court application in the High Court in Pretoria on behalf of the Blyvooruitzicht Mining Village, parties have reached an interim settlement agreement.

The original application sought to compel the Merafong City Local Municipality and Rand Water to reconnect water supply to Blyvooruitzicht after it was disconnected last month.

In the agreement, the municipality will instruct Rand Water to reconnect water supply no later than 15 June 2015 (Monday). The mine’s liquidator undertook to commission a technical assessment to identify possible leakages in the water reticulation network and determine the actual monthly consumption of water at Blyvooruitzicht. The liquidator has also agreed to pay R600 000 to the municipality towards water usage for the period from reconnection of the piped water supply. LHR was, this morning, informed that the liquidator had already paid this amount to the municipality.

All parties, including LHR and the South African Human Rights Commission, will reconvene by no later than 25 July 2015 to map out long term solutions to the supply of water to the Blyvooruitzicht community and how the municipality will charge them for this water.

This ground-breaking deal came after an intense engagement process that was facilitated by the MEC for Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs and Human Settlement, Mr Jacob Mamabolo and the South African Human Rights Commission.  LHR was pleased with MEC Mamabolo’s initiative and leadership that demonstrated transparency and responsiveness that is envisaged under section 1(d) of the Constitution.

“We are very happy with the outcome to this engagement process and remain hopeful that a long term solution will be found through a thorough and meticulous process of meaningful engagement between the parties,” explained Osmond Mngomezulu, head of LHR’s Environmental Rights Programme.

LHR hopes that all parties will comply with the court order and that the community’s right to access safe drinking water will be respected, protected and promoted.