Botswana Congress Party Youth League (BPCPYL) has appealed to authorities not to disconnect defaulting Water Utilities customers whose debts accumulated during the past 18 months of State of Public Emergency (SOE).
BCP Youth league leader Tlhabologo Furniture stated that a lot of people lost their jobs while some are working on half salaries.
Furniture further said disconnecting defaulters would amount to cruelty saying government should be able to assist its citizens under such difficult economic climate.
Furniture also said government has disregarded the cries made by Batswana regarding their harsh economic situation.
“A sensible government should be able to listen to its citizens especially during this time when people have lost their earnings due to Covid-19 but in our case we have a government that does not care. We are worried because during SOE people were told by government that there would not be any water disconnections because water is vital in the fight against Covid-19 but that has since changed, we wonder whether this means we no longer have Covid-19 or what,” said Furniture.
He stated that Batswana are going through a difficult patch as evidenced by the recent increase in taxes.
“Water Utilities should sit down with customers and see how best they can be paid instead of disconnecting them,” said Furniture.
Recently The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services Kefentse Mzwinila told Parliament that he has no intention of writing-off customer debts that accrued during the State of Emergency adding that Water Utilities Corporation is facilitating customers to come up with payment terms to clear-off the outstanding balances in their accounts.
“The Water Utilities Corporation Credit Control Policy, emphasises that it creates or wishes to create a Customer Centric environment that ensures customer management processes across the value chain entailing fulfilment, assurance and billing,” said Mzwinila.
He further stated that post SOE, the corporation issued a notice allowing its customers a one-month grace period during October 2021, within which customers owing the corporation were encouraged to approach it to settle the bills or make a payment plan for the outstanding bills.
“The payment plan is expected to run for a period not exceeding six months. As I have already stated, it is expected that customers owing the corporation should acknowledge their debt and make payment plans to settle the amounts owed to the corporation, failure to which water supply may be disconnected in line with its service policy. WUC is embarking on a country wide campaign to recover the One Billion, Two Hundred and Sixty-Nine Million Pula (P1, 269,000.00) of accumulated debt, and within its Credit Control Policy,” said Mzwinila.
Last week, Water Utilities Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gaselemogwe Senai told a media briefing that the debt level has risen to unprecedented levels, moving from P800 million in 2020 to over P1.3 billion due to non-payment of bills.
He said some customers have not paid their water bills for years, coupled with inaccessible water meters. He further said they have engaged debt collectors to collect outstanding debt.