Water body owed R249m

LEPELLE Northern Water, responsible for bulk water supply in Limpopo, is owed more than R249million by local municipalities.

The situation is so critical that the parastatal is now unable to invest in infrastructure maintenance and development.

The LNW derives its income from the sale of water to about 70percent of municipalities in Limpopo.

It has to ensure that water is purified and delivered to these municipalities.

LNW acting spokesperson Humana Mboweni confirmed yesterday that the organisation was owed more than R249million.

"It is true that LNW is owed more than R249million. Efforts are currently being made to recoup the money from the responsible municipalities," he said.

He said they were negotiating with the municipalities concerned, and the provincial government and national treasury to find ways of ensuring that money was made available for the parastatal's survival.

Sowetan understands that Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica is working out plans to make water boards sustainable. Sonjica was also expected to address the lack of payment to water boards by municipalities, as well as finding means to tackle infrastructure problems and the skills shortages.

In addition the provincial treasury, which also has a mandate to ensure there is optimum budget resource allocation and expenditure management, must put pressure on municipalities to pay their outstanding debts.

Mboweni said some municipalities had already paid.