GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - A complaint against the Dr Beyers Naudé Municipality has been lodged with the South Africa Human Rights Council, after the municipality failed to supply water tankers to its communities during a power outage on Tuesday 10 September.
The municipality, however, says it can't supply communities with water, because there is no water, and that trucks were supplying water to areas until they also ran dry.
The scheduled Eskom outage left Graaff-Reinet, Aberdeen, Nieu-Bethesda and Klipplaat without electricity from 6am until 6.30pm, and also without water, as these communities' boreholes need electricity to pump water into reservoirs. It may take up to three days for full water supply to be restored.
"The refusal by the [municipality] to supply water tankers to [these] areas is a violation of the basic human right to water," said MP Samantha Graham-Maré, who filed the complaint.
A notice that the power outage will affect the water supply was issued by the municipality on 4 September.
"Many people would have made arrangements to store water for the day, but there are many residents who would not have seen the notice or who do not have the means to stockpile water," said Graham-Maré.
According to Acting Municipal Spokesperson Wilca Smith, water trucks were used to supply water, but could not be filled again, as the boreholes need electricity to supply water to reservoirs and pipes.
"Water trucks cannot be filled because there is no water," Smith told the Advertiser on Wednesday. "Water is a basic right and we cannot refuse to drive water to people, but the issued notice stated clearly that the electricity interruption will cause water shortage."
Smith added that the reservoirs will take some time to fill up. "People continue to use water as the reservoirs fills up, so it takes longer," she said, urging residents to use water sparingly.
Graham-Maré stated the municipality should have made arrangements for water, given the advance notice. The municipality did not respond in time for print as to when and where water trucks were sent out to communities.
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