Finally, thirsty residents of Phalaborwa will get enough clean running water after a payment quarrel caught the attention of Lepelle Northern Water, the state utility service in Limpopo.

The National Department of Water Supply and Sanitation is tasked by the Mopani district municipality to supply water to the five local municipalities of Ba Phalaborwa, Guyana, Tsanin, Maruleng and Letabo.

But during the last week, the residents of the tourist and mining town of Phalaborwa have been without water for days.

Lepelle Northern Water reportedly imposed a 20% water supply restriction in the Ba Phalaborwa municipal district on May 10 as a result of outstanding debt.

It has affected not only residents but also mining houses and tourists who flood the city every day to see the wildlife in the Kruger National Park.

“We were without a drop of water for several days due to the unpaid district bill for Lepel’s Northern Water,” said Betty Maake, a student at Mopani College of Further Education and Training in Phalaborwa on Thursday.

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“Cooking, bathing, washing have been a struggle for us since last week.

“But now we are happy that the two warring parties have found a way to the table to resolve their differences because it affects us.

“You know, as they say, when elephants fight, grass always suffers.”

Edmond Mbetze, chief executive of the Speak Out program in Phalaborwa, said the most affected areas include Lulekan and Namakgale.

“Phalaborwa is a mining and tourist town,” he said.

“We are at the foot of the Kruger National Park. Our city serves as a gateway to the Kruger’s Big Five Animals.

“This is the main attraction of tourists.

“But if we continue like this, we will lose business.

“We are asking the Mopani district municipality to pay our dues so that our small businesses, our homes and hotels surrounding our city can survive and help our city’s economy.”

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On Thursday, the municipality of Mopani confirmed the restrictions and that Lepelle Northern Water and the municipality found each other.

“The district can also confirm that we really owe Lepel money for unpaid bills, but we are working on payment, thus lifting the restrictions,” said Mopani municipality spokesman Order Ngobeni.

Lepelle Northern Water also confirmed Ngobeni’s statement.

“The full supply of water for the inhabitants of Phalaborwa has been restored,” said spokeswoman Yolanda Nell.

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