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Court battle over water crisis

Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla has accused the municipality of contempt of court.
Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla has accused the municipality of contempt of court.
Image: iStock

A Limpopo traditional leader is taking a district municipality to task for leaving his community with severe water shortages after it replaced the pump at a borehole that supplied the area with water.

Kgoshi Letsiri Phaahla of GaPhaahla, near Jane Furse, approached the Polokwane high court last month asking it to order the Sekhukhune district municipality to reinstall a 30-year-old borehole water pump that was removed to make way for a new one in November.

This, according to Phaahla, was because the new pump was smaller and only drops of water could be drawn from the borehole tap.

Phaahla said the district municipality, through its contractor, replaced a 5.5kw power pump with a 3kw one.

"Since then, only drops of water came out for a full 12 months. Where we used to fill up 5,000l tanks every Monday, now we are lucky to fill up 200l," he said.

Last month, the court ordered the municipality to refit the 5.5kw pump within 20 days of the court order. But this has still not happened and Phaahla has accused the municipality of contempt of court.

Municipality spokesperson Willy Mosoma said the municipality was aware that the residents of GaPhaahla have been without water for months.

"We will engage the contractor and all stakeholders to resolve the matter urgently. We would also like to apologise for the situation," he said.

Phaahla said he had called the local councillor and the project manager who promised to request the contractor to replace the 3kw pump with a 5.5kw one.

"After months of no activity I called a municipal official who said he was unable to solve the problem.

"I later fixed our old pump, which they broke when they pulled it out and requested them to provide a crane to pull out the new, dysfunctional pump and put ours in.

"They promised weekly to come but never turned up," he said.

The new pump was installed at a cost of more than R15m, according to documents.

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