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Water Dept to suspend, limit water supply to 30 defaulting municipalities

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has given an update in Johannesburg about the department's uphill battle with defaulting municipalities.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the department has been too lenient and will now be suspending or limiting water supply to 30 municipalities.

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

She says over R10 billion is owed to the department by defaulting municipalities.

Mokonyane says the department has issued 59 summonses to non-paying municipalities and stricter measures have to be taken.

“We have not gone to this step, and this step has always been there.”

She says the department is left with no choice but to implement Section 59 of the National Water Act to suspend or restrict water to defaulting municipalities.

“We have also identified 30 municipalities whose individual debt exceeds R50 million and is older than six months. And we will be writing to National Treasury requesting that the equitable share due to these municipalities be withheld until a payment arrangement is agreed to.”

Acting CFO at the Water Trading Agency Paul Nel says municipalities receive revenue from residents and government yet still default on payments.

Mokonyane says local government needs to explain to residents why there will be water cuts in certain municipalities.

“It’s not the South African end-user in its entirety that stands to be affected by the incapacities of the local government to honour their debt and that is it. All we’re saying is if you owe, pay.”