Jubilation as Polokwane writes off millions owed by protesting residents

2016-02-18 11:32
(Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

(Lucky Nxumalo, City Press)

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Polokwane - The Limpopo city of Polokwane is set to write off millions of rands in municipal debts owed by residents of Mankweng township who have been protesting against their water bills for two weeks.

Some had received bills of up to R100 000.

"Residents of Mankweng, the position of council is that from 28 of January the council took a decision that we are saying property assessment rate and water balance is zero," executive mayor Thembi Nkadimeng told residents.

The municipality announced this on Wednesday evening in a bid to end violent protests that have crippled local businesses for weeks.

Residents have been protesting over "erroneous" billing for more than two years, demanding that the municipality conduct an audit or write off their debts.

At a meeting on Wednesday, residents told Nkadimeng that the water and rates they were being charged were abnormally high and they were tired of repeating themselves.

"We are talking one thing in different tongues. What we want is for you to write off debts," said one resident.

Nkadimeng said the council took the decision to write off the debts, which are believed to run into millions of rands.

Nkadimeng and her team met with hundreds of residents who had suspended their protests pending the Wednesday evening meeting.

Community leader Malebana Makama said, "All that we wanted [was] 'zero', and we are glad that at the end of the fight, that it is what we got."

Residents left the hall ululating and celebrating.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests  |  local government

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