Cape Town - Municipalities owe South Africa's water boards,
which supply them with bulk water, more than R1.7bn and the debt is growing
monthly, Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa confirmed on Thursday.
"(This) municipal debt is in fact growing," she
told a media briefing at Parliament, ahead of debate on her department's Budget
It was happening in areas where there were many indigent
The department was working with the country's 13 water
boards to "determine mechanisms" to collect the money.
Molewa confirmed the total debt at the beginning of the year
was R1.7bn an amount almost equal to 20% of her department's current (2011/12)
She told journalists the long-term solution to the problem
was job creation in areas where people could currently not afford to pay for
"There has been an increase (in the debt over the past
two years), but this is obviously linked to the financial crisis that we saw
last year, and it's understandable that as a country we're going through such a
"We are doing all in our power to improve on this
Molewa said while the total debt was
growing, two of the boards, Umgeni Water and Bloem Water, had managed great
improvements in their situation.