CentralSASedibeng Water narrowly pays salaries
─── OLEBOGENG MOTSE 15:35 Wed, 24 Nov 2021
The financially distressed Sedibeng Water, which supplies water to municipalities in the Free State, Northern Cape, and North West, has narrowly managed to pay employees' November salaries.
OFM News has been reliably informed that less than a week after an internal memorandum from the water board’s acting chief executive officer announcing non-payment of salaries over cash-flow problems was issued, employees received their wages in their personal bank accounts.
Sedibeng Water is yet to confirm if it received a bailout from the Department of Water and Sanitation or if one of their debtors has made partial payments on their outstanding bills for services rendered, allowing the payment of salaries.
Matjhabeng Local Municipality in particular owes the water board over R 4,4 billion for services rendered – the most money owed to Sedibeng by any of its clients.
This has now marked the second consecutive month that Sedibeng is unable to pay salaries on time. The water board previously told employees that salary increments would not be implemented this year due to its mounting financial dysfunction.
In October, the Matjhabeng and Nala Local Municipalities were plunged into the throes of a water crisis when the water board’s creditors came to roost with the bulk of the pressure coming from Eskom, who ended up cutting supply to Sedibeng’s facilities to just 4 hours a day following non-payment.
Without electrical power for the vast majority of the day, access to water purifying chemicals due to low cash flow, and protesting employees over salary delays, Sedibeng was forced to redirect the pressure onto Matjhabeng and Nala to make part payments on their debt.
The situation was averted following intervention by provincial and national government officials as well as the obtainment of an interdict by lobby group Afriforum barring the water board from cutting supply to residents.