CAPE TOWN - Parliament isn't sure what to do about the more than R165-billion owed to water boards.
The debt is impacting the maintenance of infrastructure and the provision of water.
A proposal to install more prepaid water meters hasn't been well-received by some MPs.
“The principle remains people must pay for the services rendered, despite the difficulties because we know the water situation in the country." said Deputy Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation David Mahlobo.
Officials say the culture of non-payment for services is a major contributor to the mounting water debt.
But MPs say with the high level of unemployment in the country, people simply can’t afford to pay.
One proposal is not to approve business licences and building plans for those who haven’t settled their municipal debts.