Department not allowed to cut water

Some areas in eMalahleni have not had water for up to nine days and they receive no answers from the council either.

The Department of Water and Sanitation is not allowed to cut off the water supply to Emalahleni Local Municipality.

The shutdown that was scheduled for December 8 is currently on hold.

“Doing so will be in conflict with the Bill of Rights wherein it clearly states that everyone has the right to have access to sufficient water,” said Mr Kingdom Mabuza, municipal spokesperson.

Mabuza explained that they were caught by surprise when the minister of Water and Sanitation announced that the water supply to the municipality will be cut due to non-payment. The water department wants R144 654 000 to cover outstanding debt.

“It is not the whole of Emalahleni that owes the department water; it is only Ga-Nala and Thubelihle. They are supplied water through the uSuthu scheme via Jericho Dam,” Mabuza explained.

He said that they asked the department on numerous occasions for invoices, but received nothing.

“We can not pay for something if we do not know what we are paying for. The department let us down this time,” Mabuza said.

Democratic Alliance Emalahleni Caucus Whip, Cllr Sibusiso Mokoena said this historical debt dates back to 2002. Negotiations are currently taking place with the Department of Water and Sanitation to clear up this matter.

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Zita Goldswain
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