A water tower fondly known by locals in the area as ‘The Silver Ball’ or ‘Onion’ on South Rans Road, Kilpriviersberg Estate, which borders Linmeyer and South Hills, south of Johannesburg. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Joburg Water is optimistic that it will keep a consistent supply of quality water and sanitation services despite a gloomy financial outlook facing the entity.

The latest performance report for Quarter 1 (July to September 2018) tabled at the last council meeting for the year revealed the entity's net cash position performance was R73 million in overdraft against a budget of R332 million.

This was in a stark contrast from a R12 million surplus in the same period for the previous year.

The entity is also dogged by revenue collection challenges. The recorded revenue for the period under review is below 6.8%. This translates into a 10% shortfall of sales revenue for the period under review. The entity has requested the City's revenue department to probe the shortfall.

The collection rate had plummeted from 81.1% in quarter four to 72.5%, which led to a negative cash position, the entity noted in its report.

In a bid to improve the accuracy of meter readings, Joburg Water has started a recruitment process for personnel that would be deployed to read meters on site. The entity confessed that it does not currently have a structure or capacity to manage the number of queries related to billing and meter reading.

Joburg Water managing director Ntshavheni Mukwevho noted in his report that the entity would focus on infrastructure as most of it was gradually reaching the end of its life span.

“The entity remains with a backlog of challenges in respect of water and sewer pipes replacement.”

He said it replaced 4.8km and 14.2km of water and sewer pipelines.

“The negative variance on the water programme resulted from delays in the awarding of the panel of water contractors tender.

“The company is working hard under the current challenges and budgetary constraints to ensure that service delivery is not compromised. I remain very optimistic that most interventions that are in place will assist in addressing bottlenecks,” said Mukwevho.

The chairperson of the board, Getty Simelane, echoed Mukwevho’s sentiments in her report that infrastructure rollout would remain central to the entity's objectives. “A quarterly target of 10.02% capital expenditure was achieved as progress towards the annual milestone of 95%.

“This is a good start to the year considering that most projects get off the ground during the mid-year.”

Nico de Jager, MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, said the City was working with all stakeholders to restore Joburg Water “on the path of financial viability”.