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Broke Water Dept says it can’t deliver on promises

The department has been allocated R15.5 billion for this financial year but it started the year with debt of over R2 billion.

FILE: Gugile Nkwinti, Water and Sanitation Minister. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Water and Sanitation Department says it won't be able to deliver on at least 46% of its promises this financial year because it has no money.

It will be asking Parliament to adjust its 2018/19 budget and the pledges made by Water and Sanitation Minister Gugile Nkwinti in his budget address earlier this year.

The department's dire financial situation has on Wednesday again come into sharp focus in Parliament in light of the Auditor General having already questioned whether it can be considered a going concern.

The department has been allocated R15.5 billion for this financial year but it started the year with debt of over R2 billion.

Officials have told Parliament’s appropriations and water committees it’s spending most of its money settling debts.

Non-payment from water boards and municipalities which owe around R7 billion is impacting its cash flow.

It’s War on Leaks programme, which has so far cost around R580 million, has not been budgeted for.

Water committee chairperson Lulu Johnson says this is unacceptable.

“We get to hear and get to read that targets that have been shall not have been met but money shall have been spent.”

The department says it’s curtailed travel costs and placed a moratorium on new appointments in efforts to curb its spending.