Thursday, October 28, 2021

WUC management accused of incompetence

Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) top management has been accused of incompetence, poor governance, dubious appointments and abuse of funds. The corporation’s middle management is said to be disillusioned because their opinions are never taken into consideration, says a source from the corporation.

The employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, also alleges the US Embassy were right in their concerns about the safety of drinking water in Gaborone.

“At the time the US embassy raised concerns about the safety of the water the corporation had no recent records of the quality of water,” she said.

Speaking in an enquiry by this publication, Matida Mmipi, WUC’s Corporate Communications Manager, however, refuted the allegations saying, “…the corporation tests its water routinely as part of its operations and records are always available. We ensure our water is safe from the treatment plant but anything can happen along the distribution network.”

It is also alleged that the safety records presented after the disappearance of the three WUC employees at Gaborone Dam were backdated to cover up for the corporation’s negligence but Mmipi maintains the right procedures had always been followed .

“The corporation has operation procedures and checks and balances to ensure records are done and submitted accordingly. This therefore does not leave any room for backdating any official documentation,” she said.

Meanwhile, Old Naledi Police Station Commander, King Tshebo, told Sunday Standard that his department had long completed their investigations on the deaths of the three employees.

“Our investigations have been completed and we have since handed the findings to the Attorney General’s office,” Tshebo said.

The Attorney General’s Chambers told Sunday Standard that no one will be prosecuted in connection with the incident.

“It was found that one of the deceased, being the boat driver, had failed in all respects to observe the established safety procedures by Water Utilities Corporation,” said Principal Public Relations officer, Lebotsang Mohutsiwa.

Maintenance of Mmamashia Treatment Plant has also been called into question as the plant is said to be in bad condition. The Corporate Communications Manager admitted that just like any other infrastructure that deteriorates over time some of the plant’s components had reached their lifespan. The plant was commissioned back in 2000.

Our investigations also revealed the WUC had at some point used a wrong formula when calculating VAT resulting in customers being overcharged. Mmipi confirmed in an enquiry that the corporation has indeed been overcharging customers.

“The corporation picked it (the error in calculating) up and necessary steps are being done…some customers have already been reimbursed through the adjustment of bills and crediting of accounts,” she explained.

It has also been revealed that the corporation’s top management fly top class whenever they undertake overseas trips despite the corporation’s financial problems.

Sometime last year eleven of the corporation’s senior management undertook courses (non of which lasted more than 33 days) in Singapore, South Africa and the USA costing P2 327 105.

Mmipi says the training was needed to prepare management to effectively manage the transition that the corporation is going through as a result of the Water Sector Reforms.

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