“The community of Mangaung can rest assured that the Mangaung Metro Municipality (MMM) will do everything in its power to ensure that there is no interruption in the water supply. If it means that we approach the court on an urgent basis as a means of intervention, we will definitely do so in the interest of the community of Mangaung.”
This was the response of municipal spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, after Bloem Water announced that the water supply would be heavily restricted due to non-payment by MMM.
Khedama also claims in a statement that MMM paid almost R30 million to Bloem Water last week. He also disputes claims that MMM has not been complying with agreements made during mediations with Bloem Water.
“On 11 July 2019, Mangaung Metro paid R29,2 million to Bloem Water as resolved by the mediation team, which dispels the notion that the city is not complying or not doing its due diligence of paying the water entity,” said Khedama.
“It has not been the intention of the Mangaung Metro to infuriate members of the community with regards to the ongoing dispute between the City and our water service provider, Bloem Water,” he added.
However, the Water Board restrictions would be applied in accordance to the Constitution whereby just 30% of the total bulk water will be supplied to households. This would affect areas throughout the Mangaung Metro.
“The mediation processes that took place on 21 February and 4 July 2019, ruled that the Mangaung Metro Municipality should pay the outstanding accounts. Unfortunately that has not been happening,” said Bloem Water spokesperson, Kido Thoabala, in an earlier statement.
Thoabala explained that the alleged non-payment had a negative effect on the running of the water board. “The ongoing non-payment by Mangaung Metro Municipality to Bloem Water has a huge negative operational expenditure impact on raw water purchases, procurement of chemicals, payment to Eskom for electricity, employees’ benefits, operational projects, capital and loan obligations among other matters, which are integral to the very business of the Water Board,” she explained.
On the other hand, Khedama emphasised that a payment plan proposal was submitted to Bloem Water as resolved during the National Treasury mediation meeting which took place on 4 July 2019. However, he claims that Bloem Water ignored the plan and resorted to water restrictions.
– Nomaqhawe Mtebele