12 April 2018

South Africa: Emfuleni Water Cuts Likely to Send Businesses, Residents Into a Panic, Says Municipality

Emfuleni Local Municipality is denying claims by Rand Water that it failed to honour its recent agreements to settle its debt of R419m.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the municipality's spokesperson, Stanley Gaba, said Emfuleni was paying its current account as agreed, however, it was battling to maintain the historical debt of R419m.

"The municipality does some payments towards the debt but not enough to reduce it as expected. The account has not been gaining interest since the servicing of the debt, and has remained constant."

On Wednesday Rand Water's Justice Mohale announced that it was reducing the bulk supply of water to the municipality by 20%.

Mohale added that Emfuleni Local Municipality had been notified.

Gaba acknowledged that revenue generated from the residents was not enough to assist the municipality in paying this debt.

Residents urged to keep paying

"The municipality is on record [as saying] that it has been communicating with Rand Water since the signing of the agreement on its ability to service the historical debt," Gaba said.

He appealed to residents who can afford to keep paying their accounts to do so.

The shedding of water supply is likely to send residents, in particular businesses and those who have been paying their municipal accounts, into a panic, Gaba said.

The situation at the municipality made headlines in January when water supply was cut at the beginning of the year during an intense heat wave in Gauteng. This led to protests in certain communities, including Palm Springs, over water supply.

Other areas that affected by the water cuts at the beginning of the year included Vanderbijlpark, Evaton West, Evaton, Evaton North, Lakeside, Sebokeng, Rustervaal and Roshnee.

The municipality has already gone on a voluntary 15% pressure reduction of bulk supply in an effort to curb its monthly current account.

"[The added 5%] will still have an impact on the municipality's ability to keep taps running as normal. The municipality has intensified its effort to collect revenue; however, given the high level of unemployment, it remains difficult to service the debt," said Gaba.

Source: News24

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