City slammed for ‘lying’ about blitz

2020-03-04 09:57

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Opposition parties have slammed Msunduzi’s use of scare tactics by threatening disconnections in attempts to get defaulting customers to pay their accounts.

This comes after the City issued a warning statement about a blitz to cut off services on Monday if customers with accounts in arrears did not pay during the past weekend. The blitz reportedly failed to materialise as planned.

There were also media reports quoting City officials saying last week’s statement was just a threat and there was never any intention to follow through on it.

on Tuesday opposition parties condemned Msunduzi’s actions, saying the municipality was playing a very dangerous game that could backfire badly. ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said he was disgusted at how low the Msunduzi administration under the failed ANC leadership is prepared to go.

“To use scare tactics such as these — lying to consumers about a non-existent disconnection drive. This at a time, right now as we speak, when more than 22 000 prepaid meters — out of 34 000 or 64% — have been tampered with for years with no action taken by the same administration.”

He said this was a perfect case of double standards, dishonesty and undermining of any relationship that might still exist with honest citizens.

His sentiment was echoed by the IFP’s Thinasonke Ntombela who said the disconnections threat was an indication of how much the City undermined its citizens. “They have a debtors book sitting at R4 billion and instead of going out collecting that money they are wasting people’s time with these mind games ...”

Ntombela said the IFP would be calling for disciplinary action to be taken against those who were behind the misleading statement on disconnections.

The DA’s Ross Strachan said it is abundantly clear that the municipality tends to forget the reasons why the debtors book has become uncontrollably high and continues to inflate daily.

He said the billing system and its administration are flawed and continue to provide irregularities. He said the consolidation and management of accounts due to all the flaws and lack of capacity continue to burden the finance department.

“How do we even know if that R4 billion is even accurate due to the above factors? Until the billing system is completely resolved of all its historical issues ... then you simply cannot treat our consumers with the arrogance and attitude which is currently being rolled out,” said Strachan.

In another statement issued yesterday, City spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo said as part of the revenue enhancement campaign, the disconnection programme is ongoing. She said the municipality will be issuing final notices to government departments, businesses and households whose accounts are in arrears and are to be disconnected on Thursday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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