Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane’s budget vote very nearly did not get the buy-in from the portfolio committee — it’s financial state was described as "messier than a pit latrine" by one opposition MP. Parliament’s water and sanitation committee this week initially expressed strong reservations about signing off on the budget but‚ following an eleventh-hour meeting on Thursday‚ the committee decided to adopt it, "albeit with various concerns". Chief among these was an amount of R1.8bn the department still owes contractors from the 2016-17 financial year‚ R18.9m in overexpenditure, and the R8bn debt book and R2.9bn overdraft of the Water Trading Entity. In a statement on Friday, the committee said it would exercise stricter control and had instituted quarterly meetings to track progress on these financial issues. Mokonyane’s speech made no mention of her department’s economic woes. She chose to focus on projects currently under way and those already delivered. Her depa...

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