12/02/2017 13:58 SAST | Updated 12/02/2017 14:49 SAST

Is The Water And Sanitation Department Really Bankrupt?

It's R4.3-billion overdrawn, says newspaper. No it's not, there's R2.9-billion left in the budget, says ministry.

REUTERS/Juda Ngwenya
This was the start of Phase One of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in Mohale, Lesotho, on March 16, 2004. Now a subsequent phase of the project involving South Africa's Department of Water and Sanitation is under investigation.

The Department of Water and Sanitation is broke, reported City Press on Sunday.

The newspaper reported that the department is R4.3-billion in the red, with hundreds of contractors unpaid for at least seven months, and that senior officials from the National Treasury, the department and a key water board told the newspaper that the department should be placed under administration because internal controls had collapsed.

The department is under investigation by the Public Protector and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU): the Public Protector is investigating the R26-billion Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which provides water for South Africa, and the SIU is investigating the Giyani Emergency Project.

Sputnik Ratau, the spokesperson for Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, told the newspaper that the department was not broke and did not have an overdraft, but still had R2.9-billion available of its budget of R15.5-billion for this year.