Water & Sanitation Dept dismisses claims of bankruptcy

Media reports suggest the department is more than R4.3 billion in debt, is unable to complete crucial projects or pay contractors.

FILE: Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation  Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The Department of Water and Sanitation is insisting it's not bankrupt, and it has sufficient funds to last until the end of the financial year.

The City Press newspaper reported on Sunday that the department is more than R4.3 billion in debt, and is unable to complete crucial projects or pay contractors.

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane's department is also alleged to be operating on an overdraft of more than R2.6 billion.

The department's Sputnik Ratau has dismissed reports that it's in a financial crisis and may face the possibility of being placed under administration.

“We still have sufficient funding until the end of the financial year.”

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane is also investigating tender irregularities around a R26 billion Lesotho Highlands project involving the department.

But Ratau says officials have cooperated with that probe and are now waiting for the outcome.

“We can only await her report when it ultimately comes out.”

According to the City Press, a National Treasury official has claimed that project and contract management in Mokonyane's department have completely collapsed.

(Edited by Neo Koza)