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Agri SA verwelkom kleiner toename in rouwaterkoste vir besproeiingsektor | Agri SA welcomes reduced increases in raw water charges for the irrigation sector

English to follow

21 Augustus 2020

Agri SA verwelkom die kleiner rouwaterprystoenames wat die Departement van Water en Sanitasie voorgestel het vir die besproeiingsektor vir die 2021/2022 finansiële jaar. Die departement het sy voorgestelde rouwatertariefstygings tydens ‘n virtuele vergadering met nasionale belanghebbendes op 20 Augustus 2020 voorgehou.
Die departement sal nou by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, minister van menslike nedersettings, water en sanitasie, aanbeveel dat waterhulpbronbestuurstarief-stygings vir die besproeiingsektor vir die komende finansiële jaar beperk word tot 1,2% vir alle waterbestuursgebiede (behalwe die Oranjerivier-bestuursgebied waar ‘n toename van 10% ingevolge die bestaande Nasionale Prysingstrategie voorgestel word). Met betrekking tot waterinfrastruktuurskoste, sal die voorgestelde tariefstygings vir die besproeiingsektor beperk word tot 10%. Stygings van tot 50% was aanvanklik voorgestel tydens die vroeër rondtes van die departement se provinsiale en sektor-spesifieke konsultasies.
Die departement het dit egter duidelik gestel dat die beperkte stygings wat voorgestel is hoofsaaklik bepaal is in die lig van die ernstige ekonomiese gevolge van die huidige Covid-19 pandemie. Dit sal outomaties lei tot ‘n inkrimping van die departement se bedryfsbegroting en -besteding in die komende finansiële jaar.
“Met groot dele van die binnelandse en globale ekonomie wat geweldig geraak is deur Covid-19, asook die huidige droogtetoestande in groot dele van Suid-Afrika, voorsien Agri SA dat besproeiingsboere toenemend onder ernstige finansiële druk sal verkeer. Die voorgestelde kostes sal grootliks bydra om sommige van die huidige en verwagte ekonomiese laste te versag,” sê Wayman Kritzinger, voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Natuurlike Hulpbronne.
“Hoewel Agri SA die voorgestelde tariewe verwelkom, is ons steeds bekommerd oor die gebrek aan deursigtigheid rondom die kosteverhaling, begroting en besteding ten opsigte van hierdie kostes,” sê Janse Rabie, Hoof van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Natuurlike Hulpbronne. “Ons is diep bekommerd oor die hoë historiese uitstaande skuldvlakke soos aan ons voorgehou deur die departement. Wetsgehoorsame verbruikers moet nie hoef te betaal vir ondoeltreffende verhaling deur die regering nie. Terwyl ons waardering het vir die stappe wat die regering geneem het om hierdie situasie aan te spreek, soos aan ons verduidelik, is dit duidelik dat verdere drastiese optrede noodsaaklik is.”
Waar die landbou die grootste verbruiker van water in Suid-Afrika is, beloop die historiese uitstaande bedrae wat hierdie sektor aan die regering verskuldig is minder as 10% van die departement se R18-miljard debiteurerekening. Munisipaliteite en water-rade tesame skuld die regering ‘n verbysterende R13 miljard (72%), met maatskappye en ander staatsdepartemente aanspreeklik vir die res.
Agri SA sal voortgaan om met die regering te skakel om te verseker dat water bekostigbaar bly, maar ook dat die bestuur en regulering daarvan verbeter word met die oog op gehalte watervoorsiening.
Navrae:
Janse Rabie
Hoof van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Natuurlike Hulpbronne
Wayman Kritzinger
Voorsitter van Agri SA se Sentrum van Uitnemendheid: Natuurlike Hulpbronne

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Agri SA welcomes the reduced raw water price increases as proposed by the Department of Water and Sanitation for the irrigation sector for the 2021/2022 financial year. The Department presented its proposed raw water tariff increases to national stakeholders in a virtual meeting on 20 August 2020.
The Department will next propose to Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, minister of human settlements, water and sanitation, that water resource management charge increases for the irrigation sector for the coming financial year be set at 1.2% for all water management areas (apart from the Orange management area where an increase of 10% was proposed in terms of the existing National Pricing Strategy). With respect to water infrastructure charges, the proposed tariff increases for the irrigation sector will be capped at 10%. Increases of up to 50% had initially been proposed during earlier rounds of provincial and sector-specific consultations held by the Department.
The Department, however, made it clear that the limited proposed increases were largely determined in light of the dire economic consequences of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. This will automatically lead to a contraction of the department’s operating budget and expenditure in the coming financial year.
“With large parts of the domestic and global economy severely impacted by Covid-19, as well as prevailing drought conditions in large parts of South Africa, Agri SA foresees that irrigation farmers will increasingly be coming under severe financial pressure. The proposed charges will greatly assist in easing some of the current and expected economic burdens” says Wayman Kritzinger, Chairperson of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Natural Resources.
“Although Agri SA welcomes the proposed tariffs, we remain concerned by the lack of transparency related to cost recovery, budgeting and expenditure relating to these charges” said Janse Rabie, Head of Agri SA’s Natural Resources Centre of Excellence. “We are deeply concerned by the high historic outstanding debt levels with respect to raw water charges as presented to us by the Department. Law-abiding consumers should not have to be burdened for inefficiencies in collection by government. While we appreciate the Department’s steps towards correcting this situation as explained to us, drastic action is clearly still required.”
While agriculture is the largest consumer of water in South Africa, historical outstanding debt to government ascribed to the sector amounts to less than 10% of the department’s R18 billion debtors account. Municipalities and water boards together owe government a staggering R13 billion (72%) with companies and other government departments responsible for the remainder.
Agri SA will continue to engage government to ensure water remains affordable but also that its management and regulation improve to secure quality water supply.
Enquiries:
Janse Rabie
Head of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Natural Resources
Wayman Kritzinger
Chairman of Agri SA’s Centre of Excellence: Natural Resources