Msunduzi slow to pay electricity firms

2011-08-02 00:00

ELECTRICITY contractors who do disconnections and reconnections for the Msunduzi Municipality learnt on Friday — the last day of the month — that they will have to wait for up to two weeks for their money.

This was despite submitting their invoices on time on July 1 and waiting patiently for payment in the required 30 days.

The contractors are furious and fear a rebellion by their staff, some of whom have already threatened to beat them up if they are not paid.

Both the contractors and their workers have rent, school fees and their own electricity accounts to pay. More than 50 workers are said to be affected.

The contractors say they tried to get an appointment with Administrator, Sibusiso Sithole without success. They said that more than two-and-a-half months ago Sithole gave them an undertaking at a meeting that their payments would be made in 30 days. Some of them experienced a similar problem last month and were told that it was their fault that they had not submitted their invoices on time.

The contractors deny this and allege that it is lazy staff who sit with the dockets on their desks without processing them.

Contractor Theo Konigkramer said a municipality under administration is expected to be working more efficiently, but this is not the case at Msunduzi.

He said the invoices are submitted on July 1 and all contractors do submit on time because they want their money. It is signed for, then has to go to two to three offices for checking before going to the administrator’s office for final approval.

Konigkramer said this process should not take 30 days. “If it does then it is the height of inefficiency and there should be an immediate check to see which staff member is causing the delay and that person should be fired,” he said. Konigkramer added that it was ironic that the municipality goes around disconnecting people’s electricity for failing to pay on time, yet it goes on to do exactly the same.

By yesterday The Witness learnt that two of the nine contractors who do disconnections got paid, while the other seven are still waiting for their money.

Municipal Spokesperson Brian Zuma had not responded to a query on the matter by the time of going to press.

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