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Municipality's water supply reduced over R214m debt

Gauteng
Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday that it was alarmed at the collapse of service delivery at the struggling Emfuleni Local Municipality in the Vaal Triangle after Rand Water cut water supply as the municipality buckled under a debt crisis.

Kingsol Chabalala, the DA Emfuleni constituency head said in a statement that the municipality in the south of Johannesburg cannot afford to pay Rand Water for an outstanding debt of R214 million.

As a result, Rand Water has decided to lower the water pressure to the municipality by 20 percent.

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Rand Water has decided to lower the water pressure to the Emfuleni Municipality by 20 percent. Picture: AP

“I call on the MEC of Finance in Gauteng, Barbara Creecy, to intervene as a matter of urgency to resolve the municipality’s debt crisis. Premier Makhura reportedly instructed MEC Creecy to conduct an audit of the Emfuleni financial records,” Chabalala said.

“The DA will also submit written questions in the Provincial Legislature to follow up on whether the MEC did in fact conduct the audit of the municipality.”

Emfuleni Municipality, led by the African National Congress (ANC), is facing a debt crisis as it also owes Eskom around R114 million, in addition to the R214 million that it owes to Rand Water.

Maladministration and poor financial decision making have been blamed for the collapse of service delivery.

Former Emfuleni city manager Yunus Chamda, who was among the highest paid public officials in the country with R1.4 million salary, resigned in March for “personal reasons”.

Rand Water declined to comment about the supply of water to Emfuleni, as well as the amount owed and repayment plans made by the municipality.

“Rand Water would like to refer you to the municipality concerned for a comment,” said spokesperson, Justice Mohale.

Emfuleni Municipality was not be immediately available for comment on Tuesday.

But in a statement it issued on Sunday, the municipality admitted that it was faced with the huge challenge of providing quality clean water, and removal of waste in all areas of Emfuleni.

“This is due to continued non-payment of services by the communities, and this has adversely affected the municipality’s ability to provide basic services further to the communities. Many of the main water pipelines have broken down due to the age and lack of proper maintenance over a long period,” said the municipality.

“The municipality is once again appealing to all communities and rate payers that are able to pay for services they receive, i.e. water, sanitation, waste removal, electricity, etc. to pay for such service starting from tomorrow. The situation has reached a critical stage where in is no longer bearable for the municipality. The municipality’s finances and its ability to render municipal basic services have been depleted, stretched beyond its ability.”

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