SA’s nine water boards, which manage infrastructure and treat and distribute water, are under severe financial stress after human settlements, water & sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu imposed a price freeze, preventing them from raising their tariffs.

But their biggest input costs, which include raw water, electricity and labour, are all set to rise by far more than inflation over the 2020/2021 year, with other inputs, such as chemicals, likely to rise in line with inflation. Raw water costs will rise between 4% and 14.6%, electricity by 8% and labour costs by 7% after the SA Municipal Workers Union in October secured an increase well above inflation...

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