South Africa’s struggling waterboards have been given a R600 million lifeline to stay afloat amid cash shortages compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Replying to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Mathibe Rebecca Mohlala, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said that in order to lessen the financial burden on hard-hit consumers, there has been no increase on bulk water charges imposed on all water boards for the 2020-21 financial year.
Mohlala had requested details on measures Sisulu’s department had taken to support water boards and municipalities to continue supplying clean and reliable drinking water making reference to the 11.5% tariff increase by her department.
Sisulu said her department has committed R600m in relief funds that will be distributed to cash-strapped water boards.
“These funds will also go some way in helping the water boards to absorb the increase in raw water charges.”
Sisulu added that significant concessions had been made with regards to raw water use charges.
“In terms of water resource management charges (WRMC), if the charges had been approved in line with the policy (raw water pricing strategy), the charges would have been increased by a maximum of 56%. In terms of water resource infrastructure charges (WRIC), a maximum increase of 16.5% would also have been approved.”
The capital unit charge (CUC, the charge levied on users that take water from schemes that are funded off-budget, has not been increased for the 2020-21 financial year, the minister added.
The zero percent increase has been imposed on those schemes that supply water to domestic users, Sisulu said.