Residents of the troubled Mangaung metro municipality continue to bear the brunt of the municipality’s financial distress, as the Bloem Water Board has reinstated restricted water supply.
The water board started its water restrictions on Sunday, with board spokesperson Kido Thoabala saying this stemmed from the metro’s failure to honour its debt repayment of millions of rands.
She said the two entities had several engagements around the issue of nonpayment and some disputed matters had been dealt with through a mediation process by National Treasury and a court judgment that called for a 30-day notice of reduced supply be given by Bloem Water.
In a statement, Thoabala said the public should be aware of the water restrictions that will be implemented in all areas in Mangaung until further notice.
It was previously reported that the municipality’s water debt skyrocketed to at least R449 million from an initial R419 million.
Thoabala said the metro was committed to the payment and not to offset the disputed accounts against due accounts.
“All the resolutions taken during these processes were mostly not adhered to by the metro,” she said.
“Bloem Water has been diligent and consistent in supplying bulk water at full capacity, despite continued nonpayment by the metro,” she added. “This situation has put the entity in an untenable position, which left it with no option but to reduce bulk water supply per section 4(5) of the Water Services Act 108 of 1997 (as amended). Bulk water supply will be reduced to 30% in line with the constitution.”
“The water supply reduction means that not all citizens in the metro will have access to water as the pressure will be low.”
Thoabala said besides these ramifications, the ongoing nonpayment by the metro was negatively impacting Bloem Water’s ability to meet its current operational requirements and implementation of critical infrastructure projects to meet demands.
“Bloem Water needs to pay for services to effectively and efficiently provide bulk water services,” she said.
The municipality has yet to comment.
– OFM News