Parliament's portfolio committee on water has resolved that cutting the water supply of defaulting municipalities owing hefty amounts to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is not an alternative.
Interestingly, or perhaps invariably, the bulk of the municipalities that are defaulting on servicing their water bills are the same ones that are defaulting on their electricity accounts. pic.twitter.com/49tUoIqYhE— Khulu Phasiwe (@KhuluPhasiwe) November 28, 2017
In a parliamentary statement, the committee has reassured the public that threatened water cuts from December 8, 2017, will not be implemented. The statement affirms that above everything else, the needs of the people should be considered.
"The committee has instructed the executive authority of the DWS, the National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to devise within 14 days a viable plan to solve the longstanding challenge," the statement reads.
According to the statement, the committee also considers it unacceptable that 30 municipalities have been allowed to run up debts of about R10.7-billion owed to the DWS and water boards, saying that the culture of nonpayment has a long-term impact on the DWS's ability to effectively implement its mandate.
"The fact that this debt has increased over time without interventions is also alarming. This is concerning in the context of the increase of the equitable share to local government, from 3 percent in the 2000/01 financial year, to the current 9 percent."