Water, lights: amnesty ending

2014-05-29 00:00

THERE are just two days left to take advantage of the Msunduzi Municipality’s amnesty on overdue lights and water accounts, as well as a 50% reduction on outstanding traffic fines.

The amnesty, which ends tomorrow, was offered in August last year to mark Pietermaritzburg’s 175th anniversary. Councillors saw it as a way of reducing the R1,4 billion on the city’s debt books.

The amnesty has brought in over R13 million so far, with over R1 million netted in February alone.

Councillor Jabu Ngubo said the initiative had helped shore up the city’s finances.

“When the decision was taken, some of us were reluctant as we did not know whether it would encourage people to default in their payments and expect to get a break later on. I want to appreciate the decision that was taken as I can now see that it was worthwhile,” she said.

Mayor Chris Ndlela said he hoped all the prophets of doom noted this achievement.

Those who want to take advantage of the special amnesty should note that it is for long-term debtors who have large amounts outstanding on their lights and water accounts. For every R175 paid, the debtor will get the same amount (R175) deducted from their account.

The amnesty applies only to outstanding housing, water and electricity bills, which must have been 120 days in arrears on July 1, 2013.

The amnesty does not apply to rates debt, as this is administered in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act. Those with outstanding traffic fines can pay half the amount, with the other half waived, if payment is made by the end of May.

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said the aim was to help clear the debtors’ book. He said the older a debt was, the more doubtful it became that council would be paid.

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