Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) is owed P1.123 billion by domestic and business customers since last year January to date.
Responding to a question in Parliament on the number of households disconnected from water supply since the beginning of 2022 to-date, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, Lefoko Moagi, answered that in that period WUC disconnected a total of 74 775 customers due to failure to pay or respond.
Minister Moagi said WUC had to adopt the measure of disconnections in order to address its debt book that currently stands at P1.123 billion.
Of this amount, P723,028,115 is owed by domestic customers while the P131,058,875 is owed by businesses, he said.
He explained that customers with high balances in their accounts have cumulative bills that have accrued over time without payment.
But even though disconnections were effected, customers were assisted on a case-by-case basis.
“The relevant authorities such as Social Welfare Services are engaged when dealing with needy customers,” Moagi said.
“However, it must be known that (for) any debt that remains unpaid, the Corporation may undertake stringent measures such as engaging debt collectors, listings and denial of additional water service connections.”
WUC has complained about rising debts in water bills since 2019 when it was owed P800 million.
The situation was exacerbated by the outbreak of COVID-19 towards the end of the same year that became a pandemic in 2020.
In response, President Mokgweetsi Masisi instructed the utility to reconnect all disconnected defaulters in order to enable everyone to always wash their hands in compliance with a key preventative measure against the scourge.
Over 39 000 defaulters were reconnected while less than 200 were not connected for different reasons, among them unoccupied plots and owners requesting not to be reconnected.