Most municipalities that owe billions of rands in outstanding water bills have kept to the arrangements made to pay off their debts‚ says the Water and Sanitation Department.
The department announced late last year that it had a total outstanding water debt of R10.7-billion‚ with 73% of this outstanding for longer than 60 days.
Department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said 25 of the 30 municipalities identified as major debtors had “come to the party” to make arrangements.
He could not immediately identify which of the 25 had made arrangements and how much they had so far paid.
“The larger part of the municipalities that we had identified at the time as major debtors are keeping to those arrangements‚” Ratau said on Radio 702 on Tuesday.
He told TimesLIVE that some of these municipalities owed the department‚ while others were indebted to the Water Board.
The major debtors include Emfuleni municipality‚ where water supply was cut off after it failed to keep to the payment arrangement it made with Rand Water‚ Vhembe district municipality‚ Amatole district municipality‚ Mahikeng local municipality‚ Mangaung metropolitan municipality and Zululand district municipality.
Emfuleni owes over R450-million to Rand Water and is among the 30 municipalities that made arrangements to pay off their debts.
“They [Emfuleni] have fallen behind with the arrangements that they had. Rand Water then had to invoke what the arrangement allowed them to do‚ which is reducing availability to Emfuleni.
He said the municipality needs to bring its payment up to date for Rand Water to continue supplying water.
Gauteng premier David Makhura met with Rand Water and the Emfuleni municipality on Monday to work out how the municipality can keep to the agreement arranged at the end of last year.
“That must kick in and it may not be as immediate as every one of us would want to see‚ but that solution will bring some relief‚” Ratau said.