Hon Chair, Question 44 from the hon member Faber is really about the municipalities in the Eastern Cape that owe any amount for water that has been supplied to those municipalities. The response is as follows.
At this time the department, through our regional office in the Eastern Cape, is not aware, and neither are we, of any outstanding amounts for water that is being supplied by other municipalities. If the hon member is aware of any such case, it should be brought to our attention. On our part, as I illustrated earlier on in the response to the previous question, we know that the boards supply water to municipalities. If municipalities are owed money, as the hon member said, we would like to have that information.
According to section 4(5) of the Water Services Act, Act 108 of 1997, a water institution, such as a municipality which provides water to another municipality, may limit or discontinue service once creditors have been met. All water boards have the right to limit or terminate the water supply to their clients if their accounts are not paid and all the negotiations to recover that debt have been exhausted. They must be able to prove that they have done this.
I also have the right to issue a directive that the water board not discontinue the water supply until I have had time to meet the mayors of those municipalities to find a solution to the payment of the outstanding debts. We have intervened previously where water boards were owed money by municipalities. We found amicable solutions, and repayments are being made in some of those municipalities. So, in this particular instance we are able to intervene and find solutions in this regard. As I have said, we are not aware of that. Thank you.