In a court order dated, 7 May 2019, the High Court of South Africa in the North Gauteng Division, found in favour of the Minister of Water and Sanitation against the Madibeng Local Municipality.
The case related to the municipality’s failure to pay for water use charges under the National Water Act, as well as for water research levies.
In the court order, the judge acknowledged the amount of R32 227 296.11 for water use charges and a further amount of R13 704 293.27 for water research levies.
The municipality is further found to be responsible for interest from the date of the demand as well as the legal costs of the Department, and related costs.
DWS spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said, “The Department continues to engage all its debtors, especially municipalities, through the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework in order to find common ground towards the eradication of the debt that is owed to the Department. It should however be noted that the department is allowed under the Act to follow any other avenues towards the realisation of all the money owed to it.
“The Department accordingly encourages municipalities, water user associations, irrigation boards and others to pay their outstanding debt, as the Department needs to ensure the operations and maintenance of its sophisticated water and sanitation infrastructure.”
Ratau said litigation was a last resort.
“The continuous payment of services by debtors ensures that more than 350 dams belonging to the department, and a number of large scale inter-basin water transfer schemes, as well as water services infrastructure that covers more than 35 000km of bulk pipelines and 200 000km of reticulation systems; is managed for the benefit of all communities,” Ratau said.