THE Portfolio Committee on Water in Parliament has resolved that threats by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to cut off water supplies to defaulting municipalities are not a viable solution to resolve the matter

Some municipalities and water boards owe DWS substantial amounts of money, in some instances, arrears have accumulated to more than R1 billion.

This week Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane (photo) announced that her department intended to cut off supplies to 30 defaulting municipalities that owe her department R10.7 billion.

She said defaulting municipalities would experience water cuts if they failed to settle their debts by December 8. All other methods of enforcing payment have so far failed, Mokonyane said.

However, the Portfolio Committee on Thursday said it had resolved that alternative solutions must be found and reassured the public that water cuts will not be implemented from 8 December as had been earlier stated by the DWS.

“To this end, the committee has instructed the executive authority of the DWS, the National Treasury and the department of cooperative governance and Traditional Affairs to devise within 14 days a viable plan to solve the longstanding challenge,” said the statement issued by the parliamentary communication services on behalf of the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation, Mlungisi Johnson.

Plans presented to the committee indicated the continuing disjuncture between how various departments intend dealing with the challenge.  – EWN.