City hopeful over drive

2018-10-29 15:00
Plan expected to benefit over 25 000 customers.

Plan expected to benefit over 25 000 customers.

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Msunduzi Municipality expects to generate substantially more revenue from its current amnesty campaign than the R8,9 million collected during the Black Month debt write-off initiative in December last year.

Acting City manager Neli Ngcobo recently told the executive committee that the administration was doing all it could to try and reach more customers than last year. More than R3,5 million was written off as discounts during the Black Month.

The amnesty campaign, which started on October 15, is expected to benefit more than 25 000 customers over its three-month duration.

“Our concern [though] is that our debtors have increased,” said Ngcobo.

She said the debt increase from R2 billion to R2,9 billion was as a result of the inability of customers to pay and the bad debts that had to be written back on to debtors book due to the 2017/17 audit findings.

The municipality had written off R332,3 million in bad debts but that was later highlighted by Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu in his report as being one of the reasons the City regressed to a disclaimer. Makwetu said processes had not been followed as there was no council resolution on the matter.

In April, suspended City boss Sizwe Hadebe got a legal opinion which said he neither needed a council resolution nor flouted any regulation when he wrote off the amount.

However, last week Ngcobo said: “We had to write it back because it was disputed.”

She said all customers — except government departments — that could not afford to pay were encouraged to come forward and apply for amnesty.

A dispute resolution committee has also been set up to deal with customers’ grievances, some dating back as far as 2010.

Ngcobo said the team would also be addressing disputes from government departments — which collectively owed Msunduzi R185,6 million.

“In most cases when you ask them [departments] why they are not paying they will come up with 101 reasons. They will tell you they have queries and that their asset register and Msunduzi don’t agree.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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