Water debt write-off not on the cards

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the department would be unable to provide emergency water support to municipalities until significant interventions have been made on the recovery of debt.

“The Department of Water and Sanitation will continue implementing water cuts to defaulting municipalities from 8 December 2017, while an integrated solution is being sought between relevant government departments,” Minister Mokonyane said. 

The Minister made the announcement following a proposal by the South African Local Government Association (Salga) for a debt write-off, as one of the solutions in preventing the nationwide water cuts.

Salga, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (Cogta), National Treasury and the Department of Water and Sanitation appeared before Parliament on Wednesday following an announcement by Water and Sanitation that it will cut bulk water supply to at least 30 municipalities on account of defaulting on its water debt.

Both Cogta and National Treasury strongly opposed the writing off of any municipal debt.   

Cogta and Salga came under fire for the lack of support to the Department of Water and Sanitation, while it has gone the extra mile in providing emergency support to municipalities when water services fail in communities.

Minister Mokonyane called for a Parliamentary review on disaster funding, as the department has not yet received any reimbursement for its emergency interventions during the height of the drought disaster of 2015.

This includes its current drought interventions in the Western Cape.

Political parties called for improved governance in local government.

Parliament resolved that the executive authorities of the respective departments will meet within 14 days under the leadership of Cogta and submit their plans on resolving the impasse.

All affected departments are expected to return to Parliament by 24 January 2018 with concrete solutions. – SAnews.gov.za

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