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Four killed in access to water protests in South Africa

The Associated Press reports that four people have been killed in clashes with police in a township in South Africa. “Mothutlung residents had been demanding access to water. Violent protests periodically break out in some poor South African communities that complain of poor government services.”

On the weekend, the South African Broadcasting Corporation explained, “Residents have had interrupted water supply since last year. This week the community took to the streets demanding uninterrupted water supply and the standoff with police claimed these lives.”

The South African Press Association (SAPA) notes, “A fourth person has died following violent clashes near Brits over access to water, Jacarandafm News reported on Monday. ‘He was shot in the head with live ammunition…’ …Two (other) protesters (have been) shot dead, allegedly by police. Another man died after falling out of a moving police vehicle in a bid to escape, according to police.”

Earlier today, Eye Witness News reported, “On Friday, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa promised the Mothutlung community that three pumps supplying the area with water are operational and all residents will have water by today.” Another news report notes, “Water has been restored in Mothutlung, near Brits in the North West, the premier’s spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said on Sunday. ‘Water has been restored in most parts of Mothutlung, the challenge is that people are watering their gardens which is affecting the supply of water to some areas’, Kgwele said.”

News 24 says that water tankers have been trucking in water for the community.

Our former Durban-based Blue Planet Project organizer Mary Galvin (now a professor at the University of Johannesburg) comments, “In the run up to national elections, the ANC is pumping resources into service delivery. Still many municipalities are so dysfunctional that they are failing to deliver. In an area not far from Johannesburg, known as eGoli or the City of Gold, police killed three men protesting the water crisis. And this is on the heels of Marikana, when police killed 34 protesting miners. This raises serious questions about the state of South Africa’s democracy. Yet, with temperatures at 30 degrees Celsius, how else can people get attention to their dire water situation other than through protest?”