Ugu turns off taps at RNM and Umdoni – millions owed

Ray Nkonyeni Municipal Manager Max Mbili explains why the municipality had not settled its water bill.

Two of Ugu District’s local municipalities have had their water supply shut off after having failed to pay their water bills.

The municipalities, Ray Nkonyeni and Umdoni, reportedly owe Ugu millions of rands.

After the municipalities apparently ignored notices to pay up or face water cuts, Ugu decided it was time for action.

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Ray Nkonyeni Municipality (RNM) is said to owe around R8-million in unpaid water bills, while the amount due by Umdoni was not clear at this stage.

According to Ugu, both these debts were owed for more than 360 days.

Ugu spokesman, France Zama said that both RNM and Umdoni were issued with monthly water statements, followed by 60-day and 90-day reminders.

“We also issued a 120-day final demand, but despite this, no payment was forthcoming.”

In addition to the letters, Ugu held a series of meetings with both municipalities in order to try and reach an amicable solution to the escalating debt.

DA councillor George Henderson had, during this week’s council meeting, asked why no water was available at municipal buildings, and proposed that the matter be discussed.

However council speaker councillor Doctor Njoko said the matter was not open for discussion as it was not on the agenda, but suggested it be discussed between several people.

Shortly thereafter, RNM held a press briefing to discuss developments. Reporters questioned the announcement made by RNM deputy mayor warning councillors about the buildings having no water.

Municipal manager, Max Mbili attempted to explain the municipality’s non-payment, saying,”We haven’t paid because we want clarity on certain water tariffs; we want to ensure that they were realistic.”

He added that a technical team had been formed by both municipalities in order to try and find a solution to the problem.

“We are not saying we won’t pay, we just want to know if we really owe what Ugu is claiming.”

According to Mr Mbili, the matter predates his tenure as MM at the former Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

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He said renewed negotiations with Ugu were still underway and that he was hopeful that the water supply would be restored by the end of this week.

Mr Mbili also stressed that services offered at these buildings would not be affected.

According to Mr Zama, Umdoni municipality had since paid its account and was expected to be reconnected yesterday (Wednesday).

“RNM will be reconnected as soon as the municipality makes a payment,” said Mr Zama.

 

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  AUTHOR
Zimasa Mgwili
Reporter

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