Water throttling for municipalities that owe Rand Water

Water throttling for municipalities that owe Rand WaterDespite two boreholes drilled almost two years ago to help ease the water shortages in Makwarela, Limpopo, the residents have never seen water coming out of their taps. (File Photo)

Rand water has recently lowered the pressure on the water supply to communities under the Emfuleni and Merafong municipalities in Gauteng.

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Water tap. Pic credit: Anita Martinz

It is understood that is in response to the fact that the two municipalities owe millions to Rand Water.

According to the Merafong ward 16’s Councillor Devin Nieuwenhuyzen, the pressure of the water feed to Merafong was decreased by Rand Water from May 4 due to late payment.

Nieuwenhuyzen told Health-e News that frail care facilities, old age homes, schools as well as nursery schools were left with no water as a result, and this posed health risks due to the fact that there was no sanitation available.

Nieuwenhuyzen made alternative water supply arrangements in ward 16, but the municipality had not managed to provide to all the other institutions in the area.

“Water that was made available for designated areas was not accessible to all residents due to the fact that they don’t have the means to collect it or the resources to store it,” he said.

“Due to financial constraints the municipality has made arrangements to pay on a weekly basis, except for when salaries need to be paid because of financial constraints,” said Nieuwenhuyzen.

Arrangements in place

Bridget Mkhontwana, Merafong Municipality’s chief communications officer, told Health-e News that the arrangements to pay Rand Water are currently in place.

The municipality owes Rand Water R25.7-million and the outstanding Blyvoor account of R14-million has been parked separately as it awaits a court ruling.

“The municipality owes Rand Water R25.7-million and the outstanding Blyvoor account of R14-million has been parked separately as it awaits a court ruling.”

She added “The initial arrangement of payments that must be paid by the municipality to Rand Water is R966 000 per month on top of the current account. It’s a payment arrangement that has been in place since November 2016.”

Meanwhile the Emfuleni municipality is experiencing the same struggle, with various communities within the municipality going without water.

Kingsol Chabalala of the Democratic Alliance said the municipality cannot afford to pay Rand Water for the outstanding debt of R214-million, which is why Rand Water lowered the water pressure by 20 percent.

“Maladministration and poor financial decisions are to blame for the collapse of service delivery in Emfuleni,” said Chabalala, adding that schools and clinics were placed at risk without water. – Health-e News.

An edited version of this story appeared in The Star.