The Water and Sanitation Department in the Eastern Cape is pulling all stops to make sure that municipalities do service their debts.

The department has held an information sharing session in East London. It says it will be on standby throughout the holidays to avoid panic that is sometimes caused by lack of information.

Portia Makhanya, the provincial Head of the Department says, “I would say the first reason for municipalities who have not been paying is an issue of priorities … prioritising other burning issues over the payment water services. Basically, it is the whole issue of planning and prioritisation. But over and above that, I think the department has been very lenient in the past as well, because we know that water is a basic right; it is not something you just go and temper with. As much as we have had inter-governmental relations, processes we have followed, those have not yielded meaningful results until we had to take each other to court.”