South Africa: 'The City Has Condemned Us to Death,' Says Khayelitsha Resident After Water Turned Off

analysis

Khayelitsha residents are demanding that their taps be turned back on before lockdown starts on Thursday night. With hygiene and sanitation already in dire straits in township communities, residents say water cuts are putting them at further risk of Covid-19.

"The City has already condemned us to death by closing our taps during the coronavirus," said Qaba Mbola from Khayelitsha.

Mbola, who is unemployed, said his water supply was cut-off two weeks ago after his account went into arrears.

This happened before the City of Cape Town announced on 20 March that it would temporarily suspend new water restrictions for those who haven't paid off their municipal accounts and are facing debt management actions.

According to Ian Neilson, deputy mayor and Mayco member for finance, residents with unsettled debt prior to the announcement must contact a "council cash office" and make arrangements to settle their accounts to have their water restored to "full flow":

"It is restricted to a running trickle-flow after numerous warning letters have been sent to pay debt and efforts to engage residents on debt management arrangements have not been successful," said Neilson.

When asked whether the suspension would be extended to residents who had water-debt prior...

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