Just less than half of all residents in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district in the Free State live in the Maluti-a-Phofung area. Protests in the area have brought the town to a halt. There is no water. The infrastructure to reticulate it to households is aged, and queues at water points and the long wait for municipal tankers to deliver water have become key features of life here.

In my most recent column I discussed how the burden of adjustment for the “consolidation” suggested in the February budget falls on provincial and municipal administrations, alongside public sector workers. Now I look at the Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality, whose residents in QwaQwa and Phuthaditjhaba have been engaged in a months-long protest over water services...

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