The Mangaung metro municipality dragged Bloem Water to court with an urgent application yesterday, to obtain a restraining order to prevent the water board’s restriction of the water supply to Bloemfontein and its surrounding areas.
This after Bloem Water announced on Monday it will be implementing water restrictions in all areas under the Mangaung metro municipality, due to the non-payment by the municipality of its massive outstanding debt.
The water board said this decision to restrict supply came as a last resort after the municipality failed to adhere to any of the resolutions that were taken during previous negotiations.
Spokesperson of Bloem Water, Kido Thoabala, said it was previously agreed during the mediation process by National Treasury that the metro would pay off their outstanding debt over a period of 12 months from May 2019, and Bloem Water would write off the interest on the debt.
The municipality has, however, failed to comply.
Municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, says they indeed paid R29.2 million in July. He says this proves the municipality did adhere to the payment agreement, as disputed by Bloem Water.
Khedama, however, does not explain whether payments were made in May and June.
Meanwhile, Thoabala in a statement highlighted that “this situation has put Bloem Water in an untenable position, which left it with no option but to reduce the bulk water supply in accordance with Section 4(5) of the Water Services Act 108 of 1997.
“The ongoing non-payment by Mangaung metro municipality to Bloem Water has a huge negative operational expenditure impact on raw water purchases, procurement of chemicals, payment to Eskom for electricity, employees’ benefits, operational projects, etc, which are integral to the very business of the Water Board.”
Pending the outcome of the court case, residents in the areas of Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu, Wepener, Van Stadensrus and Dewetsdorp would meanwhile have to brace themselves for continued reduced water supply.
– OFM News