Muni to set up debt solutions

Photo: sindoweekly-magz.com

POLOKWANE – The process would result in a write-off of 50% made on back-charges and interest in respect of accounts charged for services if paid in full and businesses be given an incentive on interest and a 30% write-off on participation in the scheme and that 50% and interest be written off for tenants who left an outstanding balance, which is then the responsibility of the owner on settlement.

A further offer has also been made on current incentives.

This incentive scheme would be open for application to participation from 1 August to 30 October.

Polokwane Municipality’s debtors book at the end of June 2017 stood at R736,4 million, with only R13 million aged 0 to 30 days and more than R549 million aged 151 to 180 days.

This report was also tabled at the council meeting last Thursday, and the increasing debt book is ascribed to non-payment, especially from townships such as Mankweng and parts of Seshego. Compared to the previous month there was a reduction of about R20 million.

Councillors were asked to intervene in improving collection and registration of indigents, or participation in the incentive scheme and a list of debt per suburb was tabled before council.

The municipality has finalised the appointment of a service provider for the supply and installation of smart and intelligent metering solutions and installation and replacement of faulty meters were scheduled to begin in July.

The municipality is working on improving the culture of non-payment by ensuring that all businesses and households with rental accommodation will have prepaid water meters while concurrently engage with households individually on a case by case merit to deal with concerns relating to accounts and once resolved will install smart and intelligent meters. Prepaid meters will be cut and water restricted for non-payment of services. Some R312 million has been handed over to debt collectors. The municipality is charged 12,28% vat inclusive by debt collectors on a no success no fee basis on debt older than 90 days.

A total of 10 948 indigents households receiving subsidies had been registered by the end of June.

Billing done on 30 June saw 94 417 statements generated and customers received mailed accounts, accounts per e-mail and SMS.

SMS data had challenges in that it duplicated accounts and account information was sent to incorrect cell phone numbers.

Apologies were sent to customers.

Data will be cleansed so that July accounts are not sent to wrong numbers again and a newsletter will be sent to all residents regarding the new tariffs to be billed on July statements.

Organs of state owing arrears to the municipality amounting to R69,2 million, include the Departments of Health and Social Development owing more than R17 million, national Public Works R16,9 million, provincial Public Works R14,546 million, Limdev R6,1 million, Education R9,9 million, Sport Arts and Culture R2,4 million with others ranging from R108 566 to R907 736.

Households owe R613,15 million and commercial entities owe R88,6 million for services.

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  AUTHOR
Nelie Erasmus
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