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Wednesday Feb 05, 2014

Water amnesty policy pays off for Durban

The eThekwini municipality has recovered more than R6 million in meter connection fees and prosecutions through the council's water amnesty policy, money it could previously not recoup.

A total of R6.2m had been collected up to last month after the city adopted the policy in December 2009. It was implemented in March 2010, aimed at tracing and removing all illegal connections and prosecuting those benefiting from illegal use of water, where it would be legally justifiable to do so.

A report tabled before the human settlements and infrastructure committee yesterday indicated that the city had recovered R641 000 in meter connection fees. The head of water and sanitation, Neil Macleod, said in the report that the revenue that had been recovered based on prosecutions stood at R5.6m.

'The overall financial recovery stood at R6.2m by January 20. This was money the city could not recoup had the amnesty policy not been adopted,' he said.

Macleod said as of last month, 2 616 households had taken advantage of the water amnesty, 2 565 connections had been completed and fines amounting to R23 000 had been issued.

However, regarding the fines, the unit had had to make 37 refunds for various reasons, he said.

Councillor Nigel Gumede, who chairs the committee, said this was debt they were about to write-off, believing that it could never be recovered.

'We have recovered something at least, which means we are going somewhere,' he said.

The city's latest audit report indicated that the municipality had incurred R513m in water losses in the past financial year.

The Mercury


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