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Soweto communities bemoan prepaid water meters


Hope Bowes, an 83-years-old woman from Orlando. Picture : Tshabalira Lebakeng

The Diepkloof and Orlando communities say they are not happy about the new prepaid water meters, because they can’t afford to buy water. The communities say they already can’t afford the cost of living in the current economy.

Hope Bowes, an 83-years-old woman from Orlando, said she won’t buy water because everyone has a right to accesses basic water. “Water is for free, it’s a gift from God. Look at me, I’m 83 years old, I’m living with my four grandchildren their parents are not working. All of us depend on my social grant. Where I will get money to buy water,” she said.

She is a member of an organisation called Soweto Concerned Residents, which fights for free water for residences.

“Everyone has a right to have access to sufficient water. We took the government to High Court. On the 3 to 5 December 2007. It was a High Court hearing. It was a long fight for free water. We went to another hearing at the Constitutional Court on the 2 to 3 September 2009. No one will put a water meter in my yard, and I won’t pay for water. I won’t pay anything to this corrupt government,” Said Bowes.

The cases for free water were lost in both the High and Constitutional Courts.

Thabiso Lekopa (50) from Diepkloof Zone 1 he said he can barely afford prepaid electricity, adding prepaid water is not an option. “I’m already suffering, throwing away my food in a rubbish bin every day because of load shedding, but I’m buying electricity. Now we have to buy water, but even that water they will one day say it is not available,” said Lekopa.

New water meters that have recently been installed. Picture: Tshabalira Lebakeng

Diepkloof Councillor, Thaka Mollo, said City of Joburg will be installing prepaid water meters to all houses in Soweto, not only Diepkloof and Orlando.

“These water meters will help Soweto residences to be able to save water. People will stop leaving their tap water running or over washing their cars. The city of Johannesburg it’s also fixing the leakages, if there is any leaking pipe or tap in the house. Each house or family is responsible to protect and to make sure none is tempering with their meter,” said Mollo.


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