WITH reference to "98% rates collection positive sign for Bay service delivery" (September 19), this is again an impressive performance by the Nelson Mandela Bay metro in achieving the revenue collection rate of 98.89% and obtaining the Blue Drop Certificate in the 2012 assessment.
The water service authority will be able to sustain the achievement if the water use consumer awareness education programmes and all elements of cost recovery are in place, including all connections metered, meter reading consistent, an accurate billing system, collection of revenue and thus implementing the credit control and debt collection policy as stipulated in the Local Government Municipal System Act.
It is therefore critical to ensure that the water services authorities' policies have legal backing in terms of the Water Services Act, which contains conditions for the provision of water services.
Bylaws are meant to give effect to respective policies.
In implementing the credit control and debt collection policies, it is imperative for the metro to ensure that credit control and debt collections bylaws are properly promulgated as indicated in the Local Government Municipal System Act, as valuable lessons were learnt in the sector through the court case of Mazibuko/ Phiri v City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
The reasons for the water services authority to discontinue or limit the water services must not contradict the following legislation:
ęSouth African constitution that says everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water;
ęWater Services Act, regarding the right of access to basic water supply and sanitation, every water services institution must take reasonable measures to realise these rights, and procedures for limitation and disconnection of water services must be fair and equitable and also provide for a reasonable notice of intention to limit or discontinue water services and for an opportunity to make representation.
Based on the outcome of Blue Drop 2012 assessment, the partnership between the Kouga Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay metro resulted in the Kouga Municipality's improved score results for the system of Loerie, St Francis Bay and Thornhill.
The audit revealed that the required service level agreement was still in a draft format and not signed yet, and as a result that poses issues of non-compliance with the Water Services Act. The contract needs to be signed to ensure that all conditions, including payments, are legally binding for both parties.
In ensuring the smooth relationship between the two parties, section 4(5) of the Water Services Act should be considered.
This states a water services institution may not limit the services of another water services institution for reasons of non-payment unless it has given it at least 30 days in writing of its intention to limit water services or 60 days notice in writing of its intention to discontinue those water services to the other water services institution, the relevant province and the minister.
Mandilakhe Zenzile, manager, communication services, Department of Water Affairs, Eastern Cape