Govt departments owe city R89 mln

2011-04-15 00:00

SOME Pietermaritzburg-based provincial and national departments will have to come up with an urgent solution to pay their outstanding debts to the financially straitened Msunduzi Municipality.

Mayor Mike Tarr has warned that “maybe we need to start disconnecting some of the departments”.

In a meeting yesterday, executive committee members were told that collectively the provincial and national departments owe the municipality about R89,1 million, although the balance of government debt fluctuates at the end of each month.

The council said some departments refuse to accept that they have outstanding bills.

It is closely monitoring the government debt and regular meetings are being held with governmental officials to reduce the amounts owing.

Democratic Alliance Exco member Rodger Ashe said the municipality has been engaged with government departments for far too long.

“We have been discussing this issue for the past 12 months when Johann Mettler first came to the municipality as an administrator and still we have not made much progress on the matter.”

Ashe said the council needs to take drastic action by cutting off electricity and water supplies.

Acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko admitted that there is a major problem with the national Public Works Department (PWD) because it does not seem to know which buildings it owns.

KZN’s Health Department owes about R20,1 million and it claims that the meter at Grey’s Hospital is not working, which has led to the amount piling up.

The PWD owes about R12,6 million and KZN’s Human Settlement Department about R13,6 million.

Both departments deny that they own some of the properties that are being billed.

KZN’s Education Department owes about R16,7 million, and it plans to engage the municipality on the matter.

 

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