Millions down the drain

Poor financial management has seen the Ilembe municipality nearly bankrupt and while officials and councillors struggle to repair their finances, a recent municipal report showed that almost half of Ilembe households could be bypassing prepaid water meters.

This has resulted in a recovery of only 52 percent of water revenue collection – the municipality’s main source of income.

Acting municipal manager Geoffrey Khumalo said prepaid meter customers did not seem to be transacting as they normally should and that it was easy to bypass the meters.

“The non-transacting consumers include deceased estates as well as households in the region.

“The non-revenue for water currently sits at 52.28 percent and is made up of water losses, estimated water losses and unbilled consumption.”

Ilembe DA chief whip Malcolm Hubner called for urgent action to be taken by the municipality.

Also read: Meet Dean – the new DA MP for iLembe

“It is not that there is a lack of infrastructure and that people are not receiving water. The municipality spends millions to build infrastructure and to deliver water. They are only getting back half their profit and that is a huge loss which could be detrimental to them as they are not yet on track with their finances. It will take years for them to recover from the mismanagement that took place in the previous term and the major water loss is a setback.”

Khumalo said measures are being put in place to address the issue.

“All customers will be registered in the database. We will be working on improving meter reading accuracy, especially for domestic consumers and the municipality will undertake field verification and data cleansing exercises to stop and also identify consumers who bypass prepaid meter connections.”

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Erica Abrahams

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