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Defaulting municipalities given 2 months to pay bills or face water cuts

The Water and Sanitation Department says its owed R10.7 billion by the defaulting municipalities.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Water and Sanitation Department says it realises that water cuts at defaulting municipalities will also affect paying residents, but says this cannot be avoided.

Thirty municipalities across the country have been given two months to settle their accounts or face water cuts.

The department says its owed R10.7 billion by the defaulting municipalities.

Spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said: “You must remember that we’re also affected by the municipalities themselves not paying their bills to us. So you know when you pay your bills, your municipalities ... then it is between the client and them. We’re looking at only those municipalities that are owing at least R50 million upwards in their current situation."

‘UPHILL BATTLE’

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has given an update in Johannesburg about the department’s uphill battle with defaulting municipalities.

Mokonyane says of the 186 municipalities failing to pay their water bills, 30 will face water cuts.

“We’ve commenced with the issuing of notices to at least 30 municipalities, notifying them that the department will terminate bulk water supply should they fail to pay their water debts.”

She says the objective of the cuts is not to punish the end-user, but to apply stricter measures to municipalities that consistently fail to comply.

“The water boards have at various levels sought to resolve the outstanding debt, using various structures within the state, such as the intergovernmental relations framework. To date, these have failed to yield the expected outcomes.”

Mokonyane says the 30 municipalities have until 8 December to pay the outstanding debts.

At the same time, acting CFO of the Water Trading Agency Paul Nel says debt has been growing over the past seven years.