By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – Contractors tasked with supplying water with trucks to Maluti-a-Phofung residents downed tools on Wednesday last week due to non-payment of outstanding invoices. This left community members to continue contending with dry taps.
They claim they have been supplying water without compensation since March this year in the deep rural areas that are continually plagued with water outages. They now demand that the municipality pays the outstanding invoices.
They demonstrated their displeasure by stopping the exercise of supplying water to vulnerable residents in the areas that need water because of loadshedding.
Businessman, Sipho Buthelezi said this situation has worsened their distribution routines as they are no longer able to pay staff salaries.
“Some of our colleagues had encountered many challenges which led them abandon the distribution because of the municipality’s failure to settle the outstanding debts,” said Buthelezi.
He said they had been in talks with Executive Mayor Gilbert Mokotso regarding the settlement of the outstanding balance and he promised to deliver.
“He made a promise that once the municipality’s equitable share is available, he’ll try to settle all our outstanding invoices,” he said.
Meanwhile, MAP Water has since confirmed that it was made aware of the contractors blocking water trucks at the Bluegumbosch Upstruction Point. Acting Chief Financial Officer, Peter Lephuthing told this publication that they were aware of the matter.
“Due to the dire financial situation within the water entity, we are currently unable to pay all the outstanding invoices of all the service providers. We had a meeting with them and emphasised our financial situation and it was resolved that we will settle the outstanding balance bit by bit,” Lephuthing said.
He also emphasised that most parts of QwaQwa are hugely affected and do not receive tap water due to constant power outages. “Fortunately, we are making progress in servicing our generator that will pump water when power goes off,” he said.
In another development, Lephuthing has since revealed that the trucks had resumed operations and are being sent to various parts of the municipality to distribute water.