City in massive amnesty drive

2018-09-20 15:45
Plan expected to benefit over 25 000 customers.

Plan expected to benefit over 25 000 customers.

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Msunduzi Municipality is planning to embark on a massive amnesty campaign to clear its R2 billion debtors’ book, but government departments will not benefit. This was announced by the manager of financial control, Simphiwe Mchunu, during Wednesday’s meeting of councillors who sit on the portfolio committee dealing with the the City’s finances.

The campaign is scheduled to run for three months, starting on October 15, and is expected to benefit more than 25 000 residential and business customers. “A threshold will be set to ensure that no one customer can enjoy unlimited benefits,” said Mchunu.

He said as part of the initiative, the City was planning to address pending customer disputes, some which date back to 2005. During the amnesty period the municipality will also update its data and deal with those tampering with water and electricity meters.

This would also assist in identifying customers who qualify for the indigent programme. Mchunu said they were also targeting those who were enjoying services but not paying, including Vulindlela and Sweetwaters residents.

“About 18 months ago forensic investigators selected a small sample and found 100 customers who were enjoying services but not being billed for them. We are certain that there are more people because this was just a sample.”

Applications for amnesty would be opened next month but Mchunu said the incentive would be granted on condition that the customers paid regularly.

“The amnesty is conditional on signing an agreement which shall last for five years. If the customer does not perform, amnesty will be withdrawn.”

He said customers who were good account payers would also be offered financial incentives for their consistent paying culture. Mayor Themba Njilo planned to offer a car as a prize in a competition for the best customers. “The money for the car will not come from the municipality’s account. I will be going out to look for sponsors,” said Njilo.

The finance unit expects to collect at least R250 million of the outstanding debt between January and June next year. “It is further anticipated that when the breaches are regularised this would further bring in approximately R100 million per financial year,” said Mchunu.

He said the habit of non-payment and the flouting of by-laws should not be allowed to continue after the campaign.

The municipality should also ensure that “there is consequence management to deal with employees who are doing wrong things — replacing meters without proper procedures, neglecting customer disputes to rust, bridging meters and conniving with customers”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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