Mangaung responds to water cuts and Bloem Water allegations

The Mangaung Metro has broken its silence on statements made by Bloem Water regarding its decision to reduce water supply to towns in the metro owing to the municipality’s failure to pay its water debt from January to April this year.

Yesterday, OFM News reported that the water board also further said the Metro had reneged on an agreement that was reached during mediation, that it would pay the agreed amount of outstanding debt to Bloem Water for the period of twelve (12) months, while Bloem Water would write off the interest on the debt.

However, the spokesperson of the municipality, Qondile Khedama, says the city maintains that the water board has been overcharging the municipality on raw water and demands a refund of more than R311 million from Bloem Water. Khedama says that this refund is owing to Bloem Water’s alleged failure to comply with the Service Level Agreement it has with the municipality.

It’s not the first time that Khedama claims that the water board is overcharging the metro on its water bill as last month, Khedama made similar comments. He also earlier reportedly made threats that unless this overcharging was solved, the metro would take the water board to task in court.

In a statement he issued earlier today, Khedama said he acknowledges that this dispute between the two entities is costly on residents of the metro, who now have to deal with water cuts as a result of the discord between the two entities. He said the metro will revert back to the initial agreement that was reached during mediation with National Treasury, which is facilitating the dispute between the two organisations. He did not specify what exactly this initial agreement entails. He also provides no further information on when residents can expect to have the impasse resolved and have their water supply restored back to normality.

Meanwhile, the DA in the region, say that they have written a letter to Mangaung’s mayor, council speaker, and city manager. In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the party’s Caucus Leader in the Metro, Hardie Viviers, said that this comes after he was informed that Bloem Water’s CEO, Dr Limakatso Moorosi, and Mangaung’s City Manager, Tankiso Mea, had reached a verbal agreement that water supply would be restored back to normality. This after Bloem Water stated yesterday that it would reduce water supply by 70% owing to the debt Mangaung has and its alleged failure to adhere to the resolutions made during the mediation process.

Viviers said that following the verbal agreement, the metro was supposed to have written a letter to the water board and said he believes that the fact that it did not do this, constitutes a lack of commitment to finding a resolve to the matter.

Meanwhile, another crisis looms as he reveals that the waterline from Maselspoort to Hamilton Reservoir has burst and there is no clear indication on when it will be fixed. “This has caused the greater Mangaung North and South to be without water. Water supply is currently at 30%. Failure to urgently intervene will lead to a complete water crisis,” Viviers said.

He concluded by stating that the DA has requested a meeting with the metro’s officials so that a solution can be reached by all involved.

Pulane Choane / OFM News