Prepaid water meters unconstitutional

Published: Saturday 31 May 2008

Prepaid water system unconstitIn a landmark judgement, a South African court has slammed the Johannesburg municipality for its discriminatory approach in supplying water and ordered the removal of prepaid water meters.

Responding to a class-action suit brought by residents of Phirione of Sowetos poorest townshipsthe Johannesburg High Court ruled that the forcible installation of prepaid water meters in the historically poor, black areas is illegal and unconstitutional. Water is life, sanitation is dignitythis case is about the fundamental right to have access to sufficient water and the right to human dignity, said Judge Moroa Tsoka, while setting aside the city authoritys decision to limit free basic water supply to 25 litres per person per day. Tsoka ordered that each resident of Phiri be provided 50 litres of free water a daythe basic minimum prescribed by who.

The court also ordered the city authorities to give the residents of Phiri the option of an ordinary credit water meter system.

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