The cash strapped Water Utilities Corporation cash flow problems are so serious that the parastatal is unable to pay employees salaries for January, Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
As a result, the Corporation moved its normal payment date of the 25th of each month to an ‘unknown’ date before 30th January, 2015 due to financial constraints.
WUC Corporate Communications Manager, Matida Mmipi told Sunday Standard in an interview that Water Utilities Corporation experienced financial constraints that have been brought about by what she calls non-cost reflective tariffs and increased mandate that led to increased operational costs.
“Staff members are aware that the Corporation is financially constrained, any issues of late payments are always communicated to all staff. The Corporation has developed a turn-around strategy which will address such issues,” she said.
Asked how much the corporation needs for total staff salaries bill for January 2015 or for the whole year, Mmipi was unable to give figures. “On account of confidentiality and the sensitivity of salaries, we are unable to disclose the information,” she said.
Sunday Standard investigations have since unearthed information that WUC financial problems have paralyzed the parastatals which is already failing to deliver on its key mandate of providing Batswana with clean, fresh water.
WUC’s financial situation has been on the decline over the past few years and its reserves have since dried up. So serious is the situation that the Corporation has reportedly resorted to shutting down water metres in critical areas like health facilities, as a way of arm-wrestling clients into paying their outstanding water bills.
The corporation recently froze with immediate effect, staff recruitment and movements pending the adoption of a new strategy that is expected to be finalised by the board of directors by the end of January 2015.
Information reaching this publication is that the corporation employees are on a go-slow strike in protest against late payments. So bad is the situation that in some areas Batswana are unable to get water as the employees drag their feet.
In the Okavango area Batswana had to go for days without water as pump attendants did not report for duty protesting against late payments.
According to the corporation’s 44th annual report for the year ended March 31, 2014, the parastatal’s net loss increased to P346 million from P191.1 million in the 2012/13 financial year. Although still high, it is however lower than the P541.5 million deficits recorded in the 2010/11 financial year.