SELEBI-PHIKWE: Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in Mmadinare, Selebi-Phikwe and Bobonong were this week left stranded after Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) disconnected water over unpaid bills.
The disconnections started on Tuesday as an initiative by the corporation to recover P60 million of unpaid bills by both government institutions and individuals within the Selebi-Phikwe Management Centre. Government reportedly owes more than any other consumer.
Mmadinare Senior Secondary School owes the corporation P1.3 million as a bill running from October last year to date while Selebi-Phikwe Senior Secondary School (SPSSS) owes P1.2 million from August last year. Merementsi Secondary School owed P200,000 but has since been reconnected after it was realised that the school had omitted only one month bill.
Bobirwa Junior Secondary School owed P287,000, but managed to settle the amount and got reconnected. Bobonong Junior Secondary School on the other hand owes the corporation P167,000 while Matshekge Hill Senior Secondary School owes P10.6 million from 2016 to date.
Selebi-Phikwe Education Centre was not spared the predicament, as it owes P98,000 from June last year to date. Junior secondary schools here, Phatsimo and Boikhutso, owe P1 million each from June and April last year respectively. However, Boikhutso reduced the bill by paying P50,000 last month. Meepong Junior Secondary School owed P254,000 from May last year.
WUC general manager in Selebi-Phikwe Lucas Makepe, said they had to reconnect some schools after a meeting with officials from the education office in which a commitment was made to settle the
He added that they are awaiting payments from other schools or a commitment to pay. “We had previously written letters to individual schools reminding them of the bills and advising them to have settled by March 1 to avoid disconnections, but they ignored hence we effected disconnections,” he said.
He added that last year they did not disconnect because there was communication from the schools, but this time around there was none.
“We want administrative bodies to come and commit that they will settle the bills,” he added. He said with local primary schools, the Selebi-Phikwe Town Council has been paying well hence they do not owe anything except Bobirwa Sub Council where disconnections were due to be initiated later this week.
He noted that the initiative to recover unpaid bills started with schools and will soon be rolled out to other government institutions, companies and individuals.
The corporation started off with making public announcements around the town and this will follow in Mmadinare and Bobirwa in a bid to reach out to as many people as possible.
“We have continued with reconnections, but we make public announcements to avoid inconveniences. I advise consumers to use convenient methods of settling the bills such as the post office, online and even through mobilephones to avoid long queues,” he said.