The case against Ndlambe Municipality and its senior officials for lack of various aspects of service delivery was due to be heard in court on several occasions during this year. It was first set down to be heard in June 2015 and postponed to August 2015. On both these occasions the judge allocated to hear the matter considered that he had a potential conflict of interest. In October the matter was on the roll again but was postponed due to being crowded out. Mostly recently, the matter was due to be heard on 10 December 2015 when it was again postponed to allow service of the papers to take place on the Department of Water affairs, as directed by the Judge.
The three aspects of the case for which court orders are sought relate to:
- The Municipality’s contempt of the Court Order January 2009 prohibiting the regular overflowing of sewage from the conservancy tank in Rivers Bend into the Bushman’s River. This was only finally achieved more than four years after the Court Order. Coupled with this is the fact that the Marselle sewage treatment works is unlicensed and there is concern that treated effluent flows from the sewage works into the Bushman’s River.
- The failure to close the illegal, overflowing and unmanaged refuse dump at Marselle; the failure to stop the incessant burning of the rubbish; the failure to prevent plastic and other waste from blowing across the veld; and the failure to implement proper recycling and waste management for Kenton and the surrounding areas. Most recently, the dump has been burning for the two weeks prior to the last KOSRA, with the Municipality taking no steps to extinguish it, despite repeated requests.
- The consistent failure of the Municipality to respond to any correspondence from rate payers, as required by law.
The Municipality and its legal advisors have repeatedly refused to meet with KOSRA despite several requests to try to resolve the issues and have been obstructive in their approach to the litigation.
A new date for the hearing will be sought in the New Year. Because every cloud has some kind of silver lining, this postponement has three advantages. The judge allocated for the 10th December has already read all the affidavits and has a good grasp of the Municipality’s failures. He is keen to hear the matter, and we should be able to have him appointed for the new hearing date.
Secondly, we will have an opportunity to bring to the attention of the court the full extent of the latest fire at the dump, and the Municipality’s complete disinterest in it. Thirdly, although the Department of Water Affairs have previously been as inert as the Municipality, it seems that they too have reached a level of frustration with Ndlambe; that they are apparently intending to exercise their powers to issue a directive in terms of the National Water Act.