A Constantia resident by the name of Paul Baise is now facing legal action after claims that he was selling unreasonably large amounts of water from a mountain stream in his garden during the peak of the Cape Town drought.
South African National Parks (SANParks) is taking action by applying to the Western Cape High Court for an interdict to stop Baise from using the mountain water “beyond a reasonable amount”.
Residents say that when the drought was at its worst they would see as many as 20 trucks coming and going from his residence a day, and Baise even reportedly bragged to a neighbour that he was making R15 000 a day from his latest “business”, although he has denied these claims. Despite reporting the incident to various authorities, residents had not received responses.
Baise allegedly sold his water mainly to be used for refilling pools and residents in his area were reportedly more than happy to pay the price for a full pool.
SANParks attorney Mathew Coetzee told News24 that Baise had a right to a “reasonable amount” of the mountain water for personal consumption, However, “my client’s view is that he has exceeded that,” Coetzee said.
Baise feels that SANparks has no jurisdiction over the matter and maintains that he has done nothing wrong by selling the water.
“I’m allowed to do so. No one looks at the Water Services Act. It doesn’t say you can’t sell water for pools and Jo-Jo tanks if it is under two million litres a year. But not for drinking purposes or industrial.”
He said he sold less than two million litres last year, but couldn’t say exactly how much.
Baise’s assertion that he has a claim to the water and can use it how he sees fit is linked to the 1950s, when properties in the Rhodes Drive Constantia area were granted permission by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to use the mountain water that ran onto their properties for their household.
In addition, Baise has also had a case of assault opened against him as his neighbour claims he threw him to the ground and strangled him when he confronted Baise over an argument about water receivers that opened the gate shared by the three properties.
The water-selling local has in turn reportedly opened a case of malicious damage to property against SANParks, as he claims they cut pipes on his property.