An organisation representing residents in Lekwa Local Municipality in Mpumalanga is taking the municipality to court over failure to deliver basic services. The Lekwa Ratepayers Association alleges that the communities are faced with service delivery challenges which include electricity outages, filthy water and sewer spilling onto the streets.

The spokesperson of the Lekwa Ratepayers Association Wilma Venter claims that the unscheduled power cuts have been going on for some time now.

She says that communities go for days without water. Last week, residents embarked on a violent protest, blockading roads, and vandalizing electricity infrastructure over poor services.

According to Venter, approaching the court is their last resort after numerous attempts to engage the municipality failed.

“You can’t do anything when are we supposed to do our washing, people can not continue to live like this. They are really punishing this community in every single way that they can. We have started the Lekwa Ratepayers Association and decided that as a community we will be taking Lekwa to court because they need to be held accountable for the situation in this town,” says Venter.

Meanwhile, Lekwa Local Municipality Executive Mayor Linda Dlamini acknowledges the concerns raised by the community. He says they are working with the district municipality to address them.

He adds that the municipality had to implement rotational load shedding because of Eskom capping electricity supply as a result of a R1.1 billion electricity debt to the power utility.

Dlamini has urged the communities to bear with the municipality.

“Due to challenges surrounding the error account, there have been challenges in agreeing with Eskom. But to avoid a total blackout we have embarked on internal load shedding to try to share the lead within different areas. But in the past two weeks with the increase of cold weather, it has necessitated to also load shed during the day because the previous one was between 17:00 and 21:00 in the evening,” says Dlamini.