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Municipal Water Use Debt Under the Spotlight

November 8, 2019

Parliament

8 November 2019

The portfolio committee on human settlements, water and sanitation and the portfolio committee on cooperative governance and traditional affairs have supported recommendations to broaden Schedule 1 and 2 of the Code of Conduct of the Municipal Systems Act to include officials of state organs and political office bearers.

The committees expressed support following a briefing on debt owed for water provision.

In a statement, the committees criticized the prevailing culture of non-payment for services.

Above all, the payment for services by government departments, leaders of society and households that can afford to pay needed to be achieved.

“In building a culture of payment of services, we must start with all the leaders and government departments that keep up to the civic duty of paying services. Maybe we must look at strengthening policy that exposes defaulters, especially those in positions of power,” said Machwene Semenya, chairperson of the portfolio committee on human settlements, water and sanitation.

The committees also welcomed a recommendation to consider pre-paid water meters.

Water tariffs should be structured in a way that encourages people to pay.

During the briefing, the cooperative governance and traditional affairs department indicated that the inter-ministerial task team on service delivery had recommended that prepaid/smart meters for electricity and water be installed, a government-wide campaign to encourage a culture of payment for municipal services be undertaken, fixing municipalities to ensure sustainable services and finances and the restructuring of debts.

The department also announced that a communication strategy to address culture of non-payment has been developed focusing on a national media campaign; political campaign; public servants campaign and change management institutionalisation.