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Knysna council and Hornlee community summoned by SAHRC to talk about 'racist water meters'

02 May 2019
Representatives of the Hornlee community in Knysna say they and the town council have been summoned to appear before the South African Human Rights Commission for a hearing over the disputed installation of prepaid water meters in their area.
Community organisation Hornlee United has accused the council of being racist by installing the meters only in areas occupied by non-whites.
In a statement late on Monday, the organisation said it had taken the Knysna municipal council to the rights commission in light of its reluctance to meet residents and discuss the water meter issue.

The Knysna council has previously said the community's resistance to the water meters was based on factually incorrect information, insisting that the majority of the residents welcomed the installation of the gadgets.
It said the meters had the advantage of eliminating meter reading estimates, water bill surprises and ensured better control on consumption while also promoting the responsible use of resources.
In its statement on Monday, Hornbee United said residents were being punished through the water meters because some had allegedly incurred large debts on their accounts.
"We told them (council) they should do their work in debt collection and proper billings and the community cannot be punished for their incompetence," it said.
Representatives of the municipality appeared before the Human Rights Commission on Tuesday, 30 April 2019 and responded to the complaint. Hornlee United complained because the Mayor and Municipal Manager did not appear before the commission, but according to them the Mayor and Manager had previous commitments and did not want to inconvenience the Commission.

The municipality said they, therefore, sent two senior officials who are responsible for the devices to respond to questions.
The ongoing issue regarding these water meters has led to several protests on the N2.

Source: African News Agency (ANA)

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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