Wednesday, January 27, 2021

New twist in Good Hope water meter row

A Good Hope Sub District councillor claims he tried, in vain, to stop the council management from purchasing Holland imported pre-paid water meters because it was not financially prudent to do so.
 
“I have on several occasions tried to stop the Sub District from purchasing the costly prepaid meters. This reminds me of Nteletsa 1(A rural telephony project that was rolled out by the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation using solar panels that were habitually stolen or vandalised) which could not be maintained by anyone,” says the nominated councillor.
 
Councilors argue the supplier does not have the capacity to service and maintain the meters as he has no workshop in Good Hope. The Water Utilities Corporation, the new water authority, says the responsibility to maintain the pre-paid meters lies with the supplier according to the corporation’s Corporate Communications Manager, Matida Mmipi.
 
Contrary to claims by the council secretary, councillors say the decision to purchase meters was not taken by a council resolution. ┬áSome councilors claim management did not request funds from the council’s Finance Committee before going ahead with the purchase.
 
Some councillors say the P1600 purchase price of a single pre-paid water unit, water connection becomes even more prohibitive for residents who fall outside the WUC water reticulation network who in turn have to make do with buying connection pipes themselves.
 
Fresh information passed to the Sunday Standard is that, in the past week, the council paid P350 000 in favour of the company that supplied the meters.  This claim could not be verified with the council secretary, Patrick Ncaayagae, who was said to be on sick leave. He has previously told this publication that the council does not owe the supplier any outstanding payment.
 
BIT Management Services director, Maikano Thebe, through his office personnel, failed to respond to our enquiries as promised by his office despite repeated attempts to reach him.
 
The council has previously said the decision to purchase the controversial meters was informed by nonpayment of water bills and waste of water. The council has bought a consignment of 575 meters from BIT Services. The meters are sold to prospective customers for P1 600 per component, he said, adding that the amount excludes the P200 connection fee.

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