Msunduzi has 188 000 customers on its books, but a massive 69 000 are reportedly not paying their accounts.Now the City hopes to collect approximately R250 million of this outstanding debt from the amnesty campaign it began on Tuesday. The three-month amnesty campaign is expected to benefit more than 25 000 customers but will not apply to government departments.Tuesday’s launch emanates from last month’s council resolution to offer business and residential customers discounts on their water and electricity accounts as well as amnesty on policy and bylaw breaches. Mayor Themba Njilo said the initiative was not just to clear the R2 billion debtors book, but to also provide an opportunity for indigent households to register for free services and also address the issue of usage meters that were either tampered with or were not billed. It was estimated that more than 20 000 residents with prepaid meters were not purchasing electricity tokens and some of the meters were bridged more than five years ago when Msunduzi was still under administration. Some of the bridges were done because the City could not afford to purchase the parts for repairs but some municipal staff allegedly also used the opportunity to get bribes.The City will also be using the amnesty process to clean up its data where the information on its system contradicted what was found on certain sites. The Witness has previously reported on numerous instances where the municipality sent bills to the wrong addresses or had the incorrect details about the ownership of the properties.Njilo said the campaign was also targeting all customers who had unresolved disputes on their accounts so that those would be addressed.Some of the disputes date back as far as 2005.With regards to the disconnections, revenue financial control manager Simphiwe Mchunu said they would continue until amnesty was granted to those who applied. Customers have until January 15 to apply for amnesty and the forms are available at all municipal offices and on Msunduzi’s website.