uMngeni writes off millions in debts

2013-08-22 00:00

CHRISTMAS came early for some residents of Mpophomeni township as uMngeni Municipality resolved to write off R7,4 million in bad debts.

The decision was taken at a special full council meeting yesterday.

uMngeni municipality spokesperson Thando Mgaga said the write-offs were the debts of people who are so indigent that they are unable to pay the accumulated amounts.

He said the decision to write off the debts was not arrived at lightly. “However, after close scrutiny the municipality has ascertained that there was zero success in recovering these debts because most of the debtors are very poor and are indeed living in very poor conditions,” he said.

This was in line with the recently launched “Stop Electricity Theft Campaign”, which was greeted with resistance from the community as they refused to allow contract workers employed by the municipality to disconnect power to households found to be siphoning off electricity illegally.

The municipality was forced to temporarily abandon the campaign as a result of pressure from residents who refused contract workers access into the township.

Mgaga said the municipality also recently conducted visits to the homes of the beneficiaries of the write-offs to further verify if indeed the write-offs were justified. “The municipality can categorically declare without contradiction that the beneficiaries are impoverished while others are deceased,” he said.

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