Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has revealed that water boards are owed more than R12.6 billion by municipalities across the country.
The government has, for the last few years, raised concern about money owed to water boards.
In her budget vote on Tuesday, Sisulu said they also discovered that 41% of municipal water is non-revenue and they end up losing billions of rand.
Sisulu said billions were washed through the drain because of this revenue that was lost through various ways.
She said they were making progress in a number of areas.
But there were issues of concern, including money owed to water boards or not collected.
“However, on the funding side, we still have to tighten up a few areas that could improve our economic stability. At the moment, the money lost through non-payment to our water boards by municipalities stands at R12.6 billion as at March 2021.
’’In a recent study, we discovered that about 41% of our municipal water is non-revenue – which means water is not being billed or paid for and we are losing the value of around R9.9 billion down the drain, either because of physical losses and leakage from server connections, or municipalities not paying their debts, or municipalities are not collecting revenue from our users.
’’That leaves us, as a department, so much poorer to perform our responsibilities and pay those owed, and all the lost billions could have been put to good use in maintaining infrastructure,” said Sisulu.