No more free parking

2010-11-11 00:00

GONE are the days when city motorists can go to town and park anywhere they want with impunity.

So said Msunduzi administrator Johann Mettler at the packed Winston Churchill Theatre on Tuesday during his presentation to the visiting parliamentary delegation.

“When we came here, traffic police were not in the habit of writing out fines. You could park anywhere in Pietermaritzburg free of charge,” he said.

However, Mettler said, the situation is being addressed.

Readers may recall The Witness and Mirror reporting on the increasing number of vehicles being towed away and fined in the CBD for illegal parking.

Mettler also disclosed that the municipality is battling to collect about R170 million in outstanding debt in areas where electricity is supplied directly from Eskom.

“We can’t collect that because Eskom won’t switch off their electricity. They say it’s not their problem,” he said. Mettler called for the matter to be addressed nationally because other municipalities are in the same boat.

He said they “bent over backwards” trying to find the money to pay Eskom during the winter months because the exorbitant winter tariffs placed a huge strain on the municipality’s cash reserves.

Nevertheless, he said, the municipality’s finances have improved greatly and he is “quite confident” that the R250 million budget deficit will be covered by the end of this financial year.

Matome Mokgobi, chairperson of parliament’s select committee on co-operative governance and traditional affairs, said he will make a recommendation to the house that the Minerals and Energy minister steps in to address the Eskom issue.

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