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South African decision on right to water expected in late-March

The Coalition Against Water Privatisation in South Africa writes today that, “For three days (Monday 23rd – Wednesday 25th February) the appeal against the historic High Court judgement on the rights of poor communities to equitable, adequate and affordable access to, and enjoyment of, water was heard in front of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein.”

The CAWP legal team “reiterated and expanded on the core arguments (on) the immediate need for practical relief and affirmation of the constitutional right to water access…”

“On the first day of the hearing, the small court over-flowed with residents of affected communities in Gauteng and the Free State, under the banner of CAWP.”

“The appellants  – the City of Johannesburg, Johannesburg Water and the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry – brought nothing new to the case, repeating the same old and discredited arguments. As had been the case in the High Court, the appellants tried to convince the SCA that there was no need for an increased free water allocation because of their indigent/social ‘packages’ for the poor and that pre-paid water meters were perfectly legal, non-discriminatory and popularly accepted mechanisms of water delivery that have no negative impact on the rights and lives of poor communities.”

DECISION EXPECTED IN LATE-MARCH OR EARLY-APRIL “It is expected that the SCA will deliver its judgement within the next 4-6 weeks. While we wait once again for the slow wheels of the justice system to move along, the struggle on the ground continues.”