The fi nancially constrained WaterUtilities Corporation (WUC) hastaken a move to reduce unnecessaryspending, thereby reducing allowances forits employees.A staff memo dated 10th July, 2013, fromthe Corporation’s Chief Executive Offi cer,Godfrey Mudanga stated that “as the Corporationis fi nancially constrained there isan immediate need to relook at our spendingand signifi cantly reduce unnecessaryspending.”“Areas of concern include overtime,meal and subsistence allowance claims,transfer costs, fuel costs (borehole and motorvehicle), security, travel costs and motorvehicle repair costs amongst others thatare increasing at a high rate.
To this enddepartments and management centres havebeen urged to defer and suspend indefi -nitely some of their budgeted expenditure.In addition, debt collection is behind andas such the Corporation is not able to raisesuffi cient cash to meet some of its costs,”the memo states.One employee who preferred anonymitytold Gazette Business that WUC managementlast month told them that they will nolonger be paid by government and that ataskforce was set to see how the issue of allowanceswill be dealt with. “We were toldthat much has been spent on trying to fi xthe pipes (maintenance). We are concernedthat the management does not notify uswell on time on the changes that are to occur,”revealed the source.
In an interview with Gazette Business,WUC’s chief spokesperson, Matida Mmipisaid, “As you correctly referenced, the staffmemo in question was meant for staff consumptionand hence not all issues discussedin the notice are for public consumption.”Mmipi however, indicated that the moniesowed the Corporation by its customersremain very high, at over P300, 000.00therefore, the Corporation will continueto disconnect all customers who owe it,whether it is government, business or domesticin its efforts to recover what it isowed. As the Corporation is fi nanced fromits revenues, she said it is important forcustomers to pay their water bills to ensurean uninterrupted water service.Speaking to Gazette Business, JohnsonMotshwarakgole, Organising Secretaryfor the Manual Workers Union, which theemployees subscribe to said WUC hadnot briefed them on such a development.
“They only briefed us last month (June)about the Corporation’s challenges but wealso indicated to them that their employeesin the rural areas are complaining of theconditions of service and therefore want asalary increment. Currently, we had not yetcome to any resolutions with the Corporation,”said Motshwarakgole.He added that the Union will have toconvene a meeting with the WUC managementto discuss the issue on the said memo,which the Union had not yet received. It isunderstood that WUC staff compliment hasgrown from 800 to 4, 000 within a shortspace of time, ever since the takeover fromthe Department of Water Affairs. On this,Motshwarakgole said the WUC shouldhave prepared itself well before the takeoverto avoid such an anomaly.