Water department to start cutting water supply to indebted municipalities

 ·22 Nov 2017

The Department of Water and Sanitation has announced that it will be issuing notices to at least 30 municipalities stating that water supplies will be cut off by Friday, 08 December 2017 should they fail to pay their water debt.

In a statement released by the department on Wednesday, the department said that a total outstanding water debt of R10.7 billion currently exists – with 73% of this amount being outstanding for longer than 60 days.

In trying to recover the outstanding debt, the Department initiated stakeholder consultations in terms of the Inter-governmental Relations Act and it has also embarked on a legal process to recover this money, the department said.

“These processes were initiated as early as two years ago and to this end, 6 court judgments have been issued in favour of the Department. 59 Courts summons’ have also been issued and another 121 municipalities are involved in legal collection processes.

“Despite all these interventions, the water debt at municipal level continues to escalate,” it said.

The department indicated that it was simultaneously engaging the National Treasury on invoking Section 216(2) of the Constitution of South Africa, which enables the National Treasury to withhold grant funding due to the persistent breach of the Municipal Finance Management Act, it said.

Read: Cape Town introduces water rationing: here’s what you need to know

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