Motorists owe council R10 million in unpaid fines

2009-05-29 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality is owed almost R10 million in outstanding traffic fines by local motorists.

Democratic Alliance councillor and Exco member Bill Lambert said the municipality’s escalating indebtedness is of grave concern and management needs to make the collection of outstanding money a priority.

“In other words, municipal efficiency must be monitored and improved,” he said.

On top of outstanding traffic fines, ratepayers — including national and provincial departments — have failed to settle council debts amounting to R481 million.

In 2007, The Witness reported that provincial and local government owed the Msunduzi Municipality more than R80 million in unpaid rates. It was revealed that the bulk of the debt was owed by schools and hospitals.

In 2006, the municipality approved the write-off of R184 million in unpaid rates, and last year an amount of R109,6 million was written off.

Of the amount written off, R45 million was attributed to indigent service charge arrears for homes valued at less than R60 000.

Automatic indigent debt and other arrears amounted to R25 371 121 and R1 818 203 respectively. This means that the municipality wrote off irrecoverable debts amounting to almost R300 million in the space of two years.

In 2008, poor residents who owed the municipality R62,6 million for services and rates had their bills scrapped.

IFP councillor Dolo Zondi said that if officials employed in the relevant departments knew how to do their jobs, the issue of council debt would not exist.

“It’s a pathetic situation. Most of these officials are put in their positions because of their political affiliation and not because of their credentials.

That’s why they can’t do simple tasks like ensuring that council debt is collected,” he said.

 

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