Mboweni claps back: If you want services, pay up

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has stood firm on previous calls for services rendered by municipalities to be paid for.

Mboweni was addressing journalists at a briefing on the outcomes of the ANC's National Executive Committee meeting. The NEC meeting was held over four days, this past week. It focused on the economic recovery and transformation strategy for the SA economy and local government debt, among other issues.

Responding to questions from journalists, Mboweni echoed views about the user-pay-principle made by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was also at the briefing.

Dlamini-Zuma said that government should lead the charge in developing a culture of paying. For example, municipalities must pay monies owed to Eskom, she said.

Mboweni joined the chorus and said "services rendered must be paid for."

"Where government owes Eskom, [it] must pay… Where SARS owes taxpayers VAT refunds, they must pay. All of us must generate the culture of paying for services rendered," he stressed.

Mboweni called out Soweto, which owes Eskom billions.

"There is a famous township in Gauteng which owes Eskom R18bn," he said. He did not elaborate further on the matter.

'I am not allowed to talk about e-tolls'

He tried to steer clear of e-tolls, as he had been berated by the president over a Twitter war he had with Gauteng Premier David Makhura, earlier this year.

"I am not allowed talk about e-tolls, the president will be upset with me," Mboweni said. However, Mboweni managed to slip a comment that road-users should pay.

The ANC will embark on a mass campaign to encourage society to pay for services, ANC general-secretary and member of the NEC Ace Magashule, said at the briefing.

"Municipalities owing Eskom and water boards must settle outstanding debts or make arrangements to do so and Eskom and water boards must refund municipalities where it has overcharged them," Magashule said.

The NEC also calls for national departments that owe municipalities and Eskom for services rendered, must pay their debts.

This comes after Deputy President David Mabuza's told Parliament in September, that the culture of non-payment in the country has contributed to rising municipal debts.

He similarly called for government officials to make right and pay debts where they are owed.

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