Water supply to Bushbuckridge Local Municipality has been reduced by 20% over a whopping R200m debt owed to Rand Water said spokesperson Justice Mohale said on Wednesday.
Mohale told News24 that the total owning as of the end of July 2017 was R269 963 449.
"The total balance due by the municipality includes an amount of R86 077 988; this is 50% of the historical debt existing at the time when Rand Water assumed management from the former Bushbuckridge Water Board on 1 April 2014," said Mohale.
Mohale said that Rand Water and the municipality had reached an agreement that as from July 2015 the tariff for services rendered would fixed at a monthly rate of R17m.
"Such fixed rate will be subject to the water consumption rate not exceeding 3 600 000kl at each given invoicing period," explained Mohale.
Dispute resolution process
He said that the Rand Water has on numerous occasions sought to activate the dispute resolution process as outlined in the settlement agreement with the municipality.
"On all such occasions the municipality both failed to engage with and acknowledge Rand Water's requests for meetings. The water restriction is an action to gain the attention of the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality on the seriousness of the matter, as the current debt is far beyond even the pre-takeover levels.
"Furthermore, the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality had defaulted even on the current payment of their account without making any formal payment arrangements. Under the circumstances, it was prudent for Rand Water to apply the most relevant and appropriate cash management action," he said.
Rand Water and the municipality held a meeting last week and a formal payment arrangement was reached.
The resolutions of the meeting included speedy resolution of the disputes between the parties, continuous payment of bills, and the for municipality to make formal payment arrangement for the outstanding debt.
Bushbuckridge Local Municipality spokesperson Aubrey Mnisi said the demand for water by the population of 584 000 far exceeds the available water volume from Rand Water.
"The low payment rate of services by communities adversely affected the municipality's ability to provide basic services such as water while Rand Water is not being merciful with the overcharging," said Mnisi.
Mnisi said that the municipality would continue to hold discussions with Rand Water until water supply is restored to its full capacity.
"We appeal to all the communities and ratepayers who receive reliable water supply to pay for municipal services such as water, sanitation and waste removal as it will strengthen the municipal financial muscles thus enabling it to expedite proper service delivery," Mnisi said.