Water supply reconnected to Kwamasiza Hostel, Sebokeng

25 February 2008

Monday 25 February 2008 by Ahmed

After 6 years without water, the Emfuleni Municipality restored the water supply to Kwamasiza Hostel in Sebokeng. On the 24th of January 2008, the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) wrote a letter to the municipality’s water provider, Metsi a Lekoa, concerning the water and sanitation problems endured at Kwamasiza.

The same letter was sent to Emfuleni but instead of providing the customary written response, the municipality went straight ahead with the opening of the water valve at Kwamasiza. The water valve had been closed and totally removed during the attempted eviction that took place at the hostel in September 2001. Since then, residents have been living without water, sanitation services and electricity.

Then on the 17th of February, the ward councillor called a community meeting and announced that Metsi a Lekoa (the Emfuleni Muncipality’s water provider) would be closing the water again in order for repairs to be done on all old and leaking pipes. The residents of the hostel welcomed the repair of the pipes but totally opposed the idea of the water disconnection. On Wednesday the 20th of February, the CAWP organised a picket at Metsi a Lekoa in Vanderbijlpark to demand that unless their water problems were addressed as soon as possible, mass action would be undertaken. Two days later, Metsi a Lekoa sent a maintenance crew to Kwamasiza to fix some of the pipes without cutting off the water supply and will work until all the pipes are fixed.

Most of the people living in Kwamasiza were retrenched by ISCOR, now known as Mitall Steel. Since fighting off the police, soldiers and Red Ants sent by the private owners to evict them in 2001, the residents faced the disconnection of their water and electricity supply. Now that the municipality has restored their access to water, the hostel residents have vowed to continue their struggle for the area to fall under municipal administration. The private owners of Kwamasiza must forget about recovering costs or yielding a profit from the hostel’s poor and unemployed residents. The CAWP will also continue to unconditionally support the struggle of Kwamasiza.

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