Municipality owed R150m for water

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has come to the rescue of a Limpopo municipality by paying R45million to reduce the R150million it owes to Lepelle Northern Water, a local bulk water-supplying company.

Out of the R150million owed by the the greater BaPhalaborwa municipality, R129million was directly owed by the community.

In addition to the R45million already paid by the department, it has promised to pay another R60million to help the municipality out of its trouble.

In addition, Lepelle has committed to write off R35million worth of accrued interest on the debt.

The department had initially decreased the volume of water supply to Phalaborwa, resulting in a population of about 150000 living without the basic commodity for almost three months. People living in high-lying areas such as hills and mountains had no water at all.

Some residents who use flush toilets had to use buckets and plastic bags to relieve themselves because of the lack of water.

Gloria Valoyi, the mayor of the BaPhalaborwa municipality, said the settlement of the account was a huge relief.

"This will once again restore financial viability in our municipality," Valoyi said.

Following the promise by the water affairs and forestry department to pay the bill, Valoyi scrapped the R129million owed by the community to the municipality.

Lepelle community services manager Simon Mpamonyane yesterday confirmed the latest developments.

He said talks were afoot between the Mopani district municipality and Lepelle to settle the account.