PRETORIA, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has provided an update on the agreements reached with certain municipalities to settle their outstanding debt of more than 60 days to the Department of Water and Sanitation and local water boards for the delivery of bulk water services.
She told a media briefing here Wednesday that 55.5 million Rand (about 4.087 million US dollars) had been paid by municipalities to the Water Trading Entity of the Department of Water and Sanitation. On Nov 27, she announced that the department was embarking on a process aimed at recovering a total outstanding debt of 10.7 billion Rand owed to the department and water boards by various municipalities.
The notices issued advised the 30 affected municipalities of the department’s intention to invoke Section 59 (3) (b) of the National Water Act, which allows the department to restrict or suspend the flow of water to defaulting municipalities.
Commitments received since our initial pronouncements and over and above monies already received amount to 300 million Rand, Mokonyane said Wednesday.
The department anticipates that this figure will increase over the next few days, as more municipalities have made commitments to pay the agreed amounts towards the old debt and to settle their current account debt, involving invoices which are not older than 30 days.
Of the 30 municipalities cited, 25 have made contact with the department and water boards, and have made commitments to make payment against their debt thus far. Eleven municipalities have made payment towards their debts by the deadline of 8 December 2017.
There are municipalities that have raised disputes with some portions of the debt owed and to this end, we have agreed on a process to be followed in resolving debt under dispute and separating it from the main debt, to allow for a commencement of payment on the undisputed portions of the debt, Mokonyane said.
The Minister announced that the department will commence with the rationed restriction of bulk water supply to the municipalities that have failed to engage with the department and/or make payment of their outstanding debts by the deadline of Dec 8.
She, however, emphasised that the department will not cut water supply but may throttle the pressure at which it supplies bulk water to ensure that citizens are provided with the minimal allocation of water, as dictated by the Constitution.
The South African standard relating to a ‘basic’ water supply is defined as 25 litres of water per person, per day, and this amounts to six kilolitres of water per household, per month for a household of eight people.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK