Tshwane will restrict water supply if Madibeng fails to settle bill
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Pretoria - The City of Tshwane will restrict water supply to Madibeng from tomorrow if the local municipality fails to settle its bill of more than R232 850 000 by the end of business today.
The municipality, in Brits, North West, repeatedly failed to meet arrangements to make monthly payments to reduce the accumulative debt over the past 10 months.
Tshwane supplies bulk water and electricity to a number of local municipalities, including Madibeng.
Yesterday, the City said Madibeng had to honour the debt repayment commitment for bulk water supply by end of business today or taps would run dry.
Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said: “A commitment was made at a meeting between Tshwane and Madibeng officials on October 1, 2020, that the then current account for water usage would be paid monthly until the metering issues were resolved.
“The water account arrears in October 2020 stood at R170 244 537.08. The average monthly current account is more than R7 million.”
In a meeting between the City and Madibeng on July 23, Tshwane requested a minimum of R40m – six months’ average monthly water usage – as no payments had been received since the end of October.
As things stand, Tshwane is owed R232 850 397.13. Bokaba said it was agreed that R40m would be paid on or before August 19; the current account would be paid in full, and an additional minimum of R6m would be paid each month towards the arrears amount to settle the account in full on or before December 31.
“Just before close of business yesterday, Madibeng made a payment of R20m, which is R20m short of the settlement agreement,” he said.
Tshwane, in response, told Madibeng the electricity accounts had to be paid in full and on time and no downpayment options were available.
“Failure to settle the accounts as per the terms of the agreement will result in the service being disconnected in accordance with the City of Tshwane Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy of July 2019.”
Bokaba said the City buys bulk water from Rand Water at R280m a month, and its debtors’ book sits at R17 billion. “The City will continue to intensify the enforcement of credit control to recoup the billions of rand it is owed by both business and residential customers to stabilise its finances.”
Efforts to get comment from Madibeng by the end of business yesterday failed as telephone calls went unanswered.
Madibeng has for years been struggling to supply water to businesses and residents. In 2015, several people were killed in clashes with the police when residents of Majakaneng protested about the lack of water. Another protest took place in 2014 during which residents of Hebron, also under Madibeng, blocked roads.
In February, residents from Hartbeespoort, businesses and other stakeholders stepped in to fix water pipes after three weeks without water.
In May, then Madibeng mayor Professor Tebogo Mokgoro and North West MEC for Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs Mmoloki Cwaile met with representatives from mining giants Impala, Samancor and Sibanye, as well as the leadership of Madibeng to try to deal with the water issues.
Mokgoro promised communities a speedy resolution to their challenges, which include ageing asbestos pipes, leaks, and illegal connections.