NAMED: Water department owed over R10bn by municipalities

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File: The Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng with immediate effect.

File: The Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane on Monday announced the lifting of water restrictions in Gauteng with immediate effect.

PRETORIA – The Water and Sanitation Department revealed on Monday that it was owed R10.7-billion in outstanding debt for water supply.

Last week, the department commenced with the issuing of notices to at least 30 municipalities.

Some of the municipalities that owe the Department the most include the Mopani District Municipality in Limpopo (which includes the town of Tzaneen and Phalaborwa), the Vhembe District Municipality in Limpopo (which includes the towns of Malamulele and Musina), and the Mbombela local municipality in Mpumalanga. 

The notices were issued to notify councils that the department would terminate bulk water supply should they fail to pay their water debts due by 8 December.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane said R3,9-billion is owed to the water trading entity of the department and R6,8-billion is owed to the various water boards.

Mokonayne said the amount outstanding exceeded 120 days

“In terms of municipalities, they are required to pay for bulk services within 60 days of receiving the relevant invoices,” Mokonyane said.

“Section 41 of the MFMA further mandates the National Treasury to monitor payments made by municipalities for these services.”

Mokonyane said 59 summonses had been issued and have 6 judgments had been granted by the courts against the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, OR Tambo District Municipality and the Phumelela, Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Emfuleni and Nketoana Local Municipalities.

Mokonyane further stated that the Water Act allowed the Department to restrict or suspend the flow of water to defaulting municipalities.