Struggling disconnection contractors remain unpaid by city

2011-10-13 00:00

There are about nine contractors who work for the municipality, many of whom are emerging businesses, and they collectively have staff of 42 people.

Family members of the contractors have spoken out and said if their situation was not so tragic they would ask who is going to disconnect the disconnectors because they themselves have not been able to pay their electricity bills for this month.

The contractors were due to get payment by the end of September. By yesterday, they had still not been paid. None wanted to be named for fear of victimisation, but they have collectively appealed to city administrator Sbu Sithole to investigate, as a matter of urgency, who among his staff is holding up their payment. Their own inquiries have revealed that their invoices, which were all handed in on time, were signed at Havelock Road by Nazeer Mahomed and sent straight onto a person known as Mbali. She duly signed them and sent them through to the creditors section, where it seems the hold up is occurring.

The fed-up contractors say that the municipality can’t offer lame excuses about invoices not being handed in on time and checking that the work has been done. There is a system in place where dates of the submission of invoices and jobs checked are all logged onto a system.

Two young emerging contractors who have just started their business had to borrow money for petrol to be able to carry on with disconnections to ensure their continued employment. They are already at a disadvantage because they have to wait 30 days before getting paid, which means they have to have enough capital to carry them for a month before getting paid.

Sithole was in Durban and could not be reached for comment. Acting municipal manager Thokozani Maseko was in a Finance Committee meeting. When contacted last night he said he would find out what was happening when back in the office. He expressed disappointment that the contractors did not use channels within the municipality, before going to the media. He said he has an open door policy.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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