Water boards want cost to be increased

SOUTH Africa's water boards are proposing increases of between 6,2percent and 43percent to the cost of the potable bulk water they supply to the country's municipalities.

SOUTH Africa's water boards are proposing increases of between 6,2percent and 43percent to the cost of the potable bulk water they supply to the country's municipalities.

Such tariff increases, if accepted, are likely to push up the cost of drinking water sold to end-users by municipalities.

The proposals, details of which are contained in a document tabled at a meeting of Parliament's water affairs portfolio committee yesterday, appear to fly in the face of an announcement made by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, pictured, last month.

"I want to allay the fears of South Africans that there is not in the near future a possibility of a (tariff) hike. It's not in the pipeline," she told a media briefing at Parliament on April 13.

Questioned about this yester day, the department's media liaison director, Linda Page, said there was no contradiction.

"You will remember that the minister was responding to a question on whether there are likely to be tariff increases linked to funding for infrastructure and thus potential increases in the price of raw water.

"The increases that the water boards are proposing... are the normal annual increases linked to the CPIX because they operate on a cost recovery basis," she said.

The document, tabled at the committee meeting by chief director for institutional oversight Thoko Sigwaza, includes a table of bulk water tariff increases proposed by the 13 water boards. - Sapa

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