Pay up or face cops, defaulters warned

2010-07-01 00:00

RESIDENTS of Sobantu who default on their electricity bills will have to pay up or face heavily armed police officers.

Msunduzi Municipality electricity process manager Maxwell Mthembu issued this warning recently.

His warning comes after a group of Sobantu residents prevented municipal officials from disconnecting power to houses whose owners have not been paying, on June 23.

Most of the residents are still getting power through their metered service.

“We will go there with police. Police will be armed … and we will switch the electricity off,” said Mthembu.

The Witness learnt that the electricity officials went to Nxele and Mshiyeni streets to disconnect some homes, but on their arrival, residents stood in their way and demanded that the municipality scrap their high debts and replace their metered services with a prepaid system.

Mthembu said non-payment of services is widespread in Pietermaritzburg and that the municipality is not only targeting Sobantu.

He added that no residents will get prepaid systems until they pay what they owe.

“If they cannot afford to pay, they must go to the municipality’s 333 Church Street building to make arrangements.

“If they don’t come to us and make the arrangements, we will treat them like crooks,” he said.

Mthembu said in order to get the prepaid system, residents must apply for it and pay a deposit.

The residents, some of whom owe as much as R8 000, said the municipality wants to use them to recover money that has been wasted through corruption.

“These officials are very corrupt. They have used ratepayers’ money for their own benefit and now that they have run out of money they come to us to demand electricity money,” said a resident, who declined to be named.

“We know that they have bought tickets to watch the soccer World Cup.”

They alleged that in Imbali, residents who owe large amounts for electricity had their debts scrapped, and they had prepaid systems installed for free.

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