The electricity at the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Pietermaritzburg has been cut by Msunduzi Municipality over a R700 000 debt.
The money is owed by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, which pays the bills for the DPP offices, which are opposite the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court in Otto Street. This is a new building that all the advocates from the DPP’s office in the city began occupying this year.
Staff said that it was announced on Tuesday that the power would go off at 3 pm. One advocate said: “We thought that it was because of load shedding or something.”
However, it was not all darkness because the building has a back-up generator. While some prosecutors were unable to work due to poor lighting and other reasons, others managed to be productive. “There is already a backlog of work due to the Covid-19 lockdown. And we have been receiving new work. We also have to prepare for court, which we can’t do [now],” said one prosecutor.
Approached for comment, the KZN Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Elaine Zungu, confirmed that the electricity had been disconnected.
“The matter is receiving attention and there has been communication between the NPA and the Department of Public Works. No further comments can be made on this issue as it as an internal matter. The account is sent to the DPW and not the NPA.”
Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the arrear amount is around R700 000. “The entire bill is for services only and not rates.”
She added that the national Department of Public Works had been warned that the power would be cut if the bill was not settled. “Power will only be restored once the debt is settled in full,” said Mafumbatha.
She has warned other debtors in the city with arrear balances to settle their accounts to prevent disconnection.
Spokesperson of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure, Thami Mchunu, said it has made full payment of the outstanding balance. “The proof of payment was also forwarded to the municipality and we expect services to be reconnected soon,” he said