Residents of the Gauteng township Soweto, have taken the matter of the constitutionality of prepaid waters meters to the Supreme Court of Appeals today.
This is after they already won their case against Johannesburg Water and a High Court Judge ruled that not only were the meters unconstitutional but the residents were to receive 50 litres of free water per person per day. This was in 2008, yet Johannesburg Water continued to install the meters even after the court ruling.
The residents also state that prepaid water meters installed in properties in wealthier areas work on a different principal because the wealthier residents are given an opportunity to make representations and are allowed adequate notice of disconnection.
The basis of the residents’ argument is that water is a basic human right and the restriction thereof is unconstitutional. The residents not only want the meters removed but they are also campaigning for more free daily water.
The matter will probably end up being heard in the Constitutional Court if Johannesburg Water continues to fail to comply with the High Courts ruling. This will probably set precedent and will demonstrate whether or not the South African constitution is followed when it comes to the most basic matters that are important to everyday life.
What do you think? Should free water be made available to the poorer communities in South Africa?