Ekurhuleni Metro to write off R3bn in uncollected municipal debt

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The DA in Ekurhuleni has criticised the City of Ekurhuleni’s plans to write off R3 billion in uncollected municipal services debt, Tembisan reports.

Clr Bruce Reid, DA shadow MMC for finance in Ekurhuleni, said the DA believes this is a cheap political ploy just before the upcoming elections.

“In terms of the Prescription Act, it is accepted law in South Africa that refuse, rates and sewerage charges prescribe after 30 years; whereas water and electricity charges prescribe after three years. This means the City could recuperate some of the outstanding rates when the property is sold,” Bruce said in a statement.

“Instead, the metro wants to write off 86.6% of the debt or R3 billion which is owed by 162 444 properties that are valued at R750 000 or less. These properties have 838 977 municipal accounts.

“We believe that if the metro was serious about debt collection, service delivery could be drastically improved and new services rolled out to poorer communities.

“Our communities are crying out for services but the failing ANC government finds it easier to write off unpaid debt than taking legal action against those who default on their payments or encouraging payments, said Reid.

“For those residents who cannot afford to pay, the City must actively update its indigent register to ensure our most vulnerable are afforded service delivery. Prepaid water meters need to be installed for residents who are in arrears to control consumption.”

Themba Gadebe, spokesperson for the metro, said: “The proposed debt write-off took into account collection actions and collectability of debt in respect of specific customer groups. The submission to council is in line with council’s approved credit control and debt collection policy.”

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Source:citizen.co.za