Couple in RDP house get R1.5m bill

2012-05-07 10:17

Johannesburg - A couple using pre-paid electricity have received a R1.5m water and lights bill from the City of Johannesburg, The Star reported on Monday.

The council had revived a year-old disputed bill for R1.5m for an RDP house in Cosmo City. They sent the owners Mapule Emily Matsinhe, a domestic worker, and her husband Edward, a pre-termination notice.

Because the two used pay-as-you-go electricity and water, they did not owe anything for services, said Mapule's employer Anne Naylor, who was trying to get to the bottom of the mess.

The council said it was investigating. According to their system, the couple owed R295 for rates.

"Our team is investigating the errors relating to the final process of printing of statements which is suspected to be the source of the problem with the termination of notice the customer received," spokesperson Kgamanyane Stan Maphologela was quoted as saying.

  • Martin - 2012-05-07 10:21

    hahahah thats gonna hurt the pocket a tad

      Ivan - 2012-05-07 11:42

      RDP , Roads, Drains and Pavements , Ha,ha

      Omrisho - 2012-05-07 12:27

      @ marc... not funny and it doesn't help one iota...

      DJPotifar - 2012-05-07 12:32

      @ Marc... Pathetic comment

      Louis - 2012-05-07 13:15

      ANd vote anc next time, or it's apartheids fault

      Aaron - 2012-05-07 21:48

      Makes my random R80000 bill last year seem piffling. Of course, the end result is that economically active people (like yours truly), run for the hills. I now live in Cape Town, where I've never had to pay more than R1000pm electricity for a larger house than I had in Joburg, and I have no fear of getting a bill in the '0000's. Enjoy your "World Class Sh*tty" and once you realise where you are in the rabbit hole, you are most welcome in the civilization of the mother city.

  • Ian - 2012-05-07 10:24

    You know the rules, first pay your bill and then they will 'look into the matter'...........

      Loo - 2012-05-07 15:24

      LOL .. Helpdesk " Erm Mr. Mvusi ,, we seem to have a problem, you owe us lots of Money for water and lights, did you open a mine in your back yard, because eish ,, this account ,she is very very high."

      alansmartSnr - 2012-05-07 21:04

      ...probably just a trial run by IHC (international Hackers Club)

  • Henri - 2012-05-07 10:32

    Trust eksdom and JHB City council to reep this.

      SaffaUser - 2012-05-07 11:22

      You mean JHB Sh*tty Council i think

  • marschoeman - 2012-05-07 10:33

    Same joke as always. Fact is that GIGO; Garbage in Garbage out, so if you have a cadre doing the capturing that has Grade 4 without reading, this is bound to happen. They keep on blaming the system, but is it not perhaps PEBKAC errors that is the main cause of this?

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-07 11:06

      PICNIC : problem in chair not in computa.

      Pastoor - 2012-05-07 13:38


  • Lerato - 2012-05-07 10:33

    Fire the Head of billing, the stupid clerk who posted tht bill. Honestly how can you post a bill of more than 1m

      Phalo - 2012-05-07 11:40

      Lerato: The current mayor was the head of billing before getting a promotion to the plum mayoral job. So that should explain it.

      Dee - 2012-05-07 18:06

      It may not be as simple as a clerical posting error / fraud.... and it sounds as though a qualified systems forensic audit be set up on ALL the account postings in that system. More likely to be system tampering for 'creative accounting'??

  • Susan - 2012-05-07 10:35

    Cannot get my head around how much people violated in the country...

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-07 11:57

      And they are not even European.

  • dewald.galjaard - 2012-05-07 10:44


  • Dave - 2012-05-07 10:46

    Re Forrest Gump:- Stupid is as stupid does. Typical of Jo'burg dysfunctional billing personnel.

  • meltinsoldier - 2012-05-07 10:48

    Can you imagine how inflated COJ book must be-so to top management think they look great on paper and the managers are doing an oustanding job-now just to collect all that money that they perceive to be well and truly billed for.....

  • Flynn - 2012-05-07 10:49

    Don't the managers at City Power check these big amounts going out to residents, investigate first before sending the bill out. For amounts like this, the CEO of City Power should go and hand the bill to the owner of the house/property, lol

  • simakoko - 2012-05-07 10:49

    A person who have sent the bill is she/he mental ill? How could you send a 1.5m bill for water and electricity...

  • Angelica - 2012-05-07 10:53


  • Gavin - 2012-05-07 10:54

    if/when e tolls roll out, we can expect the same sort of f up there - people will get monster bills for mileage they haven't done.

      johan.maree.5036 - 2012-07-12 16:51

      Agree, the scary thing is they will take the money from your bank account directly, so say you saved R 10 000 over time and "swoosh", that's gone and you still owe R 1 490 000, with a message: "please pay immediately or risk prosecution", LOL!

  • Shirley - 2012-05-07 10:56

    The epitomy of efficiancy!!

      Adino - 2012-05-07 16:03

      that's a spelling mistake Shirley - it's e-Fish ANC

  • hein.helmand - 2012-05-07 11:04

    I said to SANRAL,the same is going to happen to their accouting.I betted them 2 junior chease burgers and a medium coke.

  • Greg - 2012-05-07 11:10

    This is classic, Haha, City of JHB Council at it's best!!

  • Stephen - 2012-05-07 11:11

    A really good system would have an exceptions reports with a manager/department responsible for checking these exceptions and correcting errors. In this case if I was involved 1.5 Million bill for a RDP house would have generated an alarm and an investigation. The system must be devoloped very well, but exceptions may be ignored.

  • Badger - 2012-05-07 11:18

    "The couple owed R295.00" but it's a pre-paid system. !!! What billing crisis ?? We have no billing crisis, do we ??? A billing crisis ?? Who said anything about a billing crisis ?????

      Hermann - 2012-05-07 11:59

      @badger - the R295 is for rates the balance for corruption if they get it.

  • charmaine.rowlands - 2012-05-07 11:19

    OMG... i can just hear them, "pay the bill, and then we'll address the problem" Can't even take a second bond, the house isn't worth R1.5m. What a debacle

      Adino - 2012-05-07 16:06

      They can just follow the example of one of the "first world" banks & take out 15 bonds on the same house - it's just as plausible an idea as a R1.5m "lektrik" bill

  • Neil - 2012-05-07 11:22

    This is brilliant. You have to figure at least 40% of the customers are ANC supporters and surely this just helps the DA cause just a little bit more.

  • Nosiphom - 2012-05-07 11:24

    "Our team is investigating the errors relating to the final process of printing of statements which is suspected to be the source of the problem with the termination of notice the customer received," I think you are investigating in the wrong place. A printer is an output device, it does not create the information. It just shows how little you know about what you are supposed to be doing !!! According to the story, this is a year old dispute - so the issue is not in the printing process, but upstream. How can you even send a person a termination service for prepaid electricity??

      Dee - 2012-05-07 17:54

      Yes .... I cannot fathom the (lack of) logic (and grammar) in the explination?!! And after >30yrs (since Babbage) in IT systems, am hard pressed trying to analyse how a prepaid account termination process generates an closing balance of R1.5m. It sounds as though there could be some very 'creative' accounting going on and a forensic systems audit is needed imo. Does anyone know what IT system Jhb municipality uses? (Is it SAP?)

      Theo - 2012-05-07 21:09

      @ Dee ... no the IT company that landed the tender in the first place to develop this system knew nothing about system development, but got the job and was relying on contractor programmers. Most probably made millions and still no working system. No other reputable sytem developer will touch this mess. It will haunt them for many years to come. The meadia should investigate and report on how competent the developer of this system was... most likely a cousin of a uncle who hav an Aunt in parliament

      Dee - 2012-05-08 00:43

      Thanks Theo. (& a big OMG on that info......... sigh!!!) So... no standardisation of systems or accounting practices or economy of scale in SA municipal IT sector?? 15+ years ago did a massive project for Canadian govt to do just that; and several global projects for e.g. Wrigleys - with just 1 server in Chicago and universal standardisation - on Proprietary software!!! But on 2nd thoughts, let me light a candle of gratitude for being in the Cape :))))

  • Steven - 2012-05-07 11:26

    E-tolls , Parking fees in residential area's JHB Power issues miss management of funds Oh Yes and the Tender SAGA aren't we so proud to be South African can picture the cabinet meeting Hey Baba we need to pay for the ROADS that were fixed.......HA no problem we can charge all Da Rich peoples in JHB for Parking and charge them to ride on our Roads this should give us the Billlions of RANDS needed to pay for the roads ........But if this him she isn't enough we will send people High Electricity Bills even if they have pre paid JA DIS WIL WERK.......How Pathetic next they will be charging Entrance fees at Hospitals and Police Stations :-(

  • EspaƱyol - 2012-05-07 11:30

    Is it R15m or R1.5m? (NEWS24 NEWS24 NEWS24) Once again its the Link Vs Headlines

  • tjordan.rsa - 2012-05-07 11:31

    may be the cries of the people will be heard better now...

  • charles.wolfaardt1 - 2012-05-07 11:40

    Jburg City Council has a massive cashflow problem. Now they try & milk the poor. The traffic cops are taking bribes as there is no maney to their salaries ????????

  • Rob - 2012-05-07 11:45

    Presumably this amount is sitting in the income statement as receivables. And that iof course means a budget shortfall....AND WHO WILL PAY?

      bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-05-07 11:52

      On the balance sheet as receivable and income on income statement indicating a high net surplus.

      Theo - 2012-05-07 21:19

      OMG i am hysterical, this is soooo sad but yet soooooo funy The more they try the more they screw up. Will we ever see the day that anything is done right. Imagine the millions they have spent trying to recitify this system and its getting worse

  • Gaby - 2012-05-07 11:52

    Sounds funny, but from personal experience, it is not. People have heart attacks, get depression etc from stuff like this. Someone should be liable, but that is if you've got the money to sue. I hate these f#ckers.

  • Christian J Denyschen - 2012-05-07 12:05

    Voting anc can cost you R1.5m

  • ZumaGabe - 2012-05-07 12:07

    Stan my man ! Can't get the most basic admin issues right huh ?? Back to the bush Stan my man !!!

  • Willem - 2012-05-07 12:11

    Ah...COJ. They gave me over to ITC despite me sending them the proof that I don't owe them anything.Now their lawyers are too useless to do anything also to remove my name from ITC.Be careful.Selolo Ramashilo attorneys are a bunch of worthless lawyers

  • Neil - 2012-05-07 12:20

    Its this kind of thing we can expect with e-tags. Sorry to the poor suckers who have registered.

  • polite.mkhonto.3 - 2012-05-07 12:20


  • Lulama Mbelwa - 2012-05-07 12:22

    this is what happens when an office is run by incompetent staff. they better sort out the mess and let the culprit pay for his debt.

  • Omrisho - 2012-05-07 12:28

    and these guys want to toll the roads, lmfao...

  • mmaeke.fires - 2012-05-07 12:32

    Incompetence and embarrassing why investigations. Fire that disgrace

  • Susan - 2012-05-07 12:46

    Was there not a deadline for all the "billing issues" to be sorted out? This problem should not be investigated but get SORTED!!!

  • Susan - 2012-05-07 12:50

    Was there not a deadline for all the billing issues to get sorted out?

  • Dhavandran - 2012-05-07 12:52

    ja ja, get rich scheme of the ANC. A$#%holes.

  • peter.vandermerwe3 - 2012-05-07 12:53

    Talk about incompetence, and they never apologise. What if the husband or wife sustained a heart attack, would they the City of Joburg have taken care of the finanacial needs of this family as they are the cause of this burden. They've been promising to sort out this mess,but nothing has been solved thus far.Can we get some people in there that is not employed via nepotism etc.if that was the case I think we can go far...

  • sbekezele.msimango - 2012-05-07 12:54

    What do you expect? Uneducated leaders, will recruit such people. Back to school man. You being not educated is costing us 1.5 m yo.

  • Pearl - 2012-05-07 13:21

    This government is just pathetic, the billing system issues have ongoing for a very long time in jhb metro, why can't they fix it after this long? \r\nIts very strange bcos they want to nationalise mines and be in charge of the international companies like De Beers and the likes yet they're dismally failing to manage and sort out the issues of joburg metro.

  • johannekie - 2012-05-07 13:34

    The City of Joburg Municipal Billing system or whatever system is a piece of sh%t. I opened a new municipal account in April 2010 and received our first account in December 2010 for R55000. I then opened a query immediately. After which I did 6 follow ups, cutting off of our power (by then the account was at R95000 in November 2011), me going to their offices 4 times. I payed my own calculated estimation every month. The issue was resolved February 2012.

      Dee - 2012-05-07 18:00

      And Joe - what was the explination? How on earth do 'bugs' like this continually happen?

  • Jacqui - 2012-05-07 13:46

    So much incompetence from the chosen few. No wonder everything they touch turn into a fiasco.

  • Rowan Cranston - 2012-05-07 13:57

    Please tell me that they were asked to pay first before being investigated as I was asked to do when my meter was incorrectly read! Ha ha ha ha ha, enjoy the long queue in the municipal office.....

  • Michael - 2012-05-07 14:18


  • Snoopy - 2012-05-07 14:27

    Yooooo, BEE!! Ai, Ai, Ai.

  • Michael - 2012-05-07 15:01

    you cant say its incompetance its jure pure laziness...cannot see the greater picture of working for south africa......just give me maay maaaney

  • Loo - 2012-05-07 15:19

    Bwahahaha . .welcome to the club Mr. Homeowner that registered with the council. CHECK how this mistake takes around 3 years to rectify.

      Loo - 2012-05-07 15:26

      OH and be aware of the next three months' estimates lol

  • Andre - 2012-05-07 16:18

    How on earth can a couple of zero's make such a difference? I don't understand this!

  • Mhla - 2012-05-07 17:42

    This is a mistake or fraud(someone transfered bill to him) . . I dont see how a person who lives in RDP house can spend so much . .

      johan.maree.5036 - 2012-07-12 16:56

      really? hehehehe...

      johan.maree.5036 - 2012-07-12 16:56

      No really I agree...