Thumbs up for Water and Sanitation's financial recovery plan

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Department of Water and Sanitation has been commended for its financial recovery plan, which has resulted in a reduction in accruals and payments.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Machwene Semenya, said the plan gives the committee the assurance that the current leadership will be able to overcome the department’s long-standing challenges.

One of the major areas of improvement include a reduction in accruals and payables from R1 667 8871 in March 2019 to R808 460 on 31 October 2019.

Semenya said the payment for services received ensures that service providers remain viable and that projects are completed.

“The committee welcomes the department’s consequence management initiatives to deal with the R16 642 937 319 in irregular expenditure. The committee has always emphasised that consequence management is a necessity to deter wrong-doing,” Semenya said.

In respect to debt owed to the department and its entities, the committee emphasised the need for constructive discussions coupled with strong implementation in areas of agreement to deal effectively with the debt and to assist water agencies to improve their balance sheet.

Semenya said this is necessary if the department’s entities are to achieve their mandate and ensure water provision.

End of War on Leaks Programme

Meanwhile, the committee said it has noted the intention to exit the War on Leaks Programme, which has been an albatross to the department due to planning inefficiencies.

The War on Leaks Programme was launched in 2015 in a bid to curb water losses which costs the country R7 billion a year.

While the committee acknowledged the need to conclude the programme, Semenya said the department should improve its planning capacity, as the intentions of War on Leaks were noble and much could have been achieved, especially in relation to decreasing non-revenue water, which is at 41% at an estimated R9.9 billion in lost value.

“The committee will await a concrete strategy from the department on how to exit the War and Leaks Programme. The committee has also requested regular updates from the department on the financial recovery plan,” Semenya said.

Thirteen officials dismissed

The committee has welcomed the 86 guilty verdicts - including 13 dismissals, one demotion and various suspensions enforced against errant officials. –