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Staff Reporter

Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and local water board Bloemwater have agreed to put in place a payment plan that would see the anticipated water supply disruptions put on hold for now.

In a joint statement, the city and its bulk water supplier said the impasse between the two parties had been discussed at length and the municipality had committed to pay under a new payment arrangement.

“The city did commit to honouring its obligation going forward,” read part of the statement.

Earlier this week, Bloemwater announced that it had found its financial situation unsustainable due to the non-payment of accounts by the municipalities it services.

It said the outstanding debt by the three municipalities it supplies water stood at R1 492 495 as at July 2020, with Mangaung alone owing R1 093 540 713.

The water board also supplies water Kopanong and Mantsopa local municipalities.

Bloemwater had suggested a host of measures to contain the situation, including reducing the amount of water it supplies to the three.

But according to the joint statement, a delegation led by Mangaung acting executive mayor Lebohang Masoetsa met Wednesday with Bloemwater led by board chairperson Tefetso Bernard Phitsane and Free State provincial government representative MEC Makalo Mohale, on behalf of Acting Premier Mamiki Qabathe, to iron out the differences.

“The meeting was able to expedite issues related to the water shutdown, the overall debt by the municipality and also adopted an approach on how best to deal with the administrative part that involves the debt,” the statement said.

“The leadership of both institutions assigned administrators to come up with a plan that would ensure that water interruptions don’t take place and a practical payment plan is developed.

“Mangaung . . . residents can be assured that there won’t be a shutdown.”

In a separate statement, Bloemwater however expressed disappointment that Kopanong Local Municipality had decided to approach the courts instead of resolving the payment dispute with them.

Kopanong’s debt stood at R397 443 101 as at July 31, 2020.

“It is . . . sad that the municipality has opted to approach the courts instead of using the money to pay for its water services,” Bloemwater said.

“Water will remain suspended until an amicable solution is reached that takes both institutions forward in the interest of serving communities.”

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