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MPs hammering out terms of reference for inquiry into state of Water Dept

Members of Parliament want to get to the bottom of the mess, which the department blames on municipalities failing to pay for services and budget cuts.

FILE: Parliament in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Lawmakers are hammering out the terms of reference for a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the financial and administrative shambles at the Water and Sanitation Department.

Parliament’s Water and Sanitation oversight committee and the watchdog over the public purse Scopa decided to launch a joint inquiry in March amid concerns the department was on the brink of collapse.

The joint committees heard in March from the Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu, National Treasury and the Special Investigating Unit on the dire state of the Department of Water and Sanitation’s finances and alleged malfeasance by officials.

Makwetu has red-flagged billions of rand in irregular expenditure and a lack of internal controls. He’s also questioned the department’s viability as a going concern.

Water and Sanitation committee chairperson Lulu Johnson says they hope to adopt the terms of reference on Tuesday.

“That’s the aim, we’ve brought them [the terms of reference] here to interact with them and seek to adopt so that we can pave the way for what we are here to do.”

Members of Parliament want to get to the bottom of the mess, which the department blames on municipalities failing to pay for services and budget cuts.

It is highly likely that the former minister in charge, Nomvula Mokonyane, who is now Communications Minister, may be among the witnesses to be called once the inquiry gets underway.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)