Nomvula Mokonyane’s water department is bankrupt

The department of water and sanitation is broke.

The critical department is now R4.3-billion in the red, leaving hundreds of contractors unpaid for at least seven months.

Senior executives from National Treasury, the department and a key water board told City Press a few days ago that Cabinet should place it under administration because “internal controls, project management and contract management have collapsed”.

The situation has become so dire that in late November last year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan called a crisis meeting with Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane to discuss the department’s deteriorating finances.

The cash woes come at a time when Mokonyane’s department is facing investigations by both Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), sparked by City Press investigations.

Mkhwebane, who confirmed her probe a few days ago, will investigate the R26-billion Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Mkhwebane and the SIU are investigating tender and other irregularities in the controversial Giyani Emergency Project, the cost of which has already ballooned from R500-million to over R5-billion.

What the documents reveal

Confidential emails, contracts and letters City Press obtained further reveal that:


  • The department has unpaid invoices amounting to R1.7-billion for the current financial year.



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