RESIDENTS of Carolina, Mpumalanga, are preparing to go to court for the second time in less than a month in a bid to compel the government to provide them with their constitutionally guaranteed water supply.

The town has been without a steady supply of drinkable water since mid-January, when acid mine water polluted its chief water supply, the Boesmanspruit dam.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said last week the water was fit to drink, but the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) dispute this.

This time the town will ask the North Gauteng High Court to order that the situation is so urgent that the government needs to provide it with water.

A previous court order was held in abeyance by the Gert Sibande district municipality's application for leave to appeal, LRC lawyer Naseema Fakir said.

However, there is legal room for this to be argued against, and the LRC and LHR are hoping to do so before a judge on Wednesday.

"We have said it is urgent enough for them to have to continue ensuring a water supply," Ms Fakir said.

The Gert Sibande municipality was appealing on the basis that Judge Moses Mavundla was wrong to rule the matter was urgent, and also to order it to provide water.

The order should have been made against the Chief Albert Luthuli (Carolina) local municipality, one of seven local municipalities under Gert Sibande's jurisdiction, municipal manager Vusi Ngcobo said.

Federation for a Sustainable Environment director Koos Pretorius, who farms in the area, said tests he had taken yesterday showed the water was still acidic.

Mr Ngcobo said Gert Sibande did not have the infrastructure, such as billing facilities.

Democratic Alliance deputy water and environmental affairs spokeswoman Marti Wenger said where a local municipality was struggling, the district municipality had to step up to the plate.

Mr Ngcobo said his municipality was helping Chief Albert Luthuli, but was constrained by infrastructure and the law, which precluded it from delivering water to Carolina's taps.

blaines@bdfm.co,za