South Africa 9.4.2017 01:26 pm

Inside Mokonyane’s cash crisis – a R3.5bn overdraft and R654m loss

Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. Picture: Refilwe Modise

A separate water entity within the department of water and sanitation appears to have attempted to cook its books.

The Water Trading Entity (WTE), which is responsible for several high level projects including the Lesotho Highlands Water project, has been bleeding millions and operating at a loss.

City Press reports that the company has been taken to task by Treasury for failing to pay its bills and having its overdraft increased to R3.5 billion and being unable to account for R654 million.

Treasury has sent letters to the department of water and sanitation in a bid to sort out the issue with a consensus finally reached that WTE’s invoices will no longer be paid for by Treasury. WTE would also be set up as a stand-alone firm. The embattled entity also appears to have made an attempt to cook its books as it was unable to account for R654 million.

Confidential emails, contracts and letters obtained by City Press in February show that there were outstanding invoices amounting to R1.7 billion and the department was facing a R400 million lawsuit for unpaid work while the Giyani emergency project is yet to be completed due to a lack of funds.

A senior National Treasury official said the department had run out of money and this was flagged almost a year ago.

Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was also ordered to pay outstanding bills amounting to more than R315 million to property magnate David Mabilu’s company, Vharanani Properties.

The order by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria followed a settlement between the minister and the infrastructure development firm, which has been battling since June last year to be paid for work relating to the implementation of the department’s bucket sanitation eradication programme in the Free State.

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