Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Sisulu slashes R3.3bn water, sanitation bill

By BALDWIN NDABA Time of article published Feb 24, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Department of Water and Sanitation, under Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, has drastically slashed its R3.3billion bill owed to service providers by paying over 80% in less than six months.

This is contained in a report to be made public by the Public Service Commission (PSC), after a series of public hearings on compliance by the national and provincial government to pay their service providers in 30 days.

In Gauteng, PSC commissioner Mike Selloane tabled the report to the provincial finance committee, headed by Joe Mpisi in Vanderbijlpark in the Vaal Triangle on February 14.

Selloane told Gauteng MPLs that national government departments were making progress in ensuring timeous payment to their service providers. In its June report, the PSC reported that the Water and Sanitation Department owed service providers over R3.3bn. The police owed service providers about R80million, while Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs had a bill of R50m.

The Presidency’s bill was R100000.

Water and Sanitation turned the tide within four months. In October it had 460 outstanding invoices amounting to more than R619.7m. In November, the amount increased slightly to R658.7m and by December, it had decreased substantially to R538.8m.

The Presidency was not listed among the national departments owing service providers in December.

The SAPS under Police Minister Bheki Cele recorded a big reduction of its debt owed to service providers, after it had owed R80m in June. It was reduced to just R512 in October. That invoice was still not paid in November. In December, they owed R1370.

Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs under Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has also improved on settling its debt to service providers, after owing them R50m in June. By October, R4.3m was owed for 35 unpaid invoices. It increased to R6.6m in November for 43 unpaid invoices. In December the bill was R4.6m for 14 unpaid invoices.

The Office of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng owed one service provider R57 in December. In November, it owed 24 service providers R469441 but the debt has since been settled.

Justice and Correctional Services under Minister Ronald Lamola has no bill. It had a debt of R1695 in October, which has since been paid.

Home Affairs has settled a bill of R11997 to 12 service providers.

Selloane welcomed the improvement, but bemoaned the poor state of compliance with the Public Finance Management Act (PFM).

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