Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse said the province’s health department was taking advantage of the municipality by ignoring its debt.
- The Gauteng Health Department denies that it owes the city of Joburg R240m for a water bill, calling it “a historic dispute”.
- Mayor Mpho Phalatse accused the department of taking advantage of the city by ignoring its water bill.
- Department spokesman Motalatale Modiba said the city’s debt was up to date.
The city of Johannesburg wants Gauteng’s health department to “do the right thing” and pay its R240 million water bill, but the province insists it is up to date.
On Thursday, the department’s spokesman, Motalatale Modiba, said the department’s account was up to date and that the debt the city was referring to was a landmark dispute over the water and sanitation accounts for Johannesburg’s Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and the Sizwe Hospital for Tropical Diseases.
Among the problems with the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital account was that it apparently shared a meter with Wits University, leading to billing disputes with the city.
With the Sizwe Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Modiba said the ongoing dispute was over a R60 million bill related to a meter reading and water leaks.
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“This is subject to ongoing discussions between hospital management and representatives from the CoJ and Johannesburg Water to find closure on the matter,” Modiba said.
On Tuesday, the city of Joburg said the department owed the amount on its water bill, and was accused by Mayor Mpho Phalatse of taking advantage of the city because the city was not quick to disconnect services for non-paying customers.
“We believe there is an element of the provincial government taking advantage of the city because we are not rushing to cut off the services of a hospital. It’s difficult, it’s a moral issue, and we think they’re taking advantage of that. Phalatse said, adding that the city had issued termination notices to delinquent customers.
Modiba said the department paid its debt to the city.
“The Gauteng Health Department wishes to dismiss the idea that it is taking advantage of the municipality as health facilities provide essential services. This could not be further from the truth,” Modiba said.
However, Phalatse urged the department to settle its accounts or make payment arrangements with the city.
“You are part of a team building this city and we ask you to do the right thing. Every rand counts. Please come to our offices, pay your bills and if you can’t pay please make arrangements and at least pay your bills.” delays,” Phalatse said.