POLOKWANE – The Polokwane Municipality’s debtor book is now officially over R1 billion.
The council’s ever-increasing debtor book showed a whopping R1,009 billion owed to the municipality as at 30 June this year.
Of the amount, more than R634,83 million was owed to the municipality for more than a year. Households are the main debtors, with over R845,26 million owed while commercial entities owed R109,97 million, organs of state owed R47,45 million and other debts amounted to R30,51 million.
You might also want to read: Municipality’s debt to be investigated by task team
Of revenue collected, the DA councillor, Jacques Joubert, said the party is concerned about the decline in water billing for the year ending June 2018, which reduced by 38,1% compared to the previous financial year.
“The DA can confirm the under-billing is estimated to be R83 million less than the previous year after perusing the Fourth Quarter Report for 2017/18,” he said.
When the Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng, was questioned about the decline, she could not provide an explanation other than referring the Fourth Quarter Report to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC).
BONUS last year did an article about water shortages and the non-supply of water by Lepelle Northern Water to the city and areas which did not have water for days on end, some up to two weeks long. The question was asked what effect it may have on revenue earned by the municipality from water sales to residents as it is speculated this may be one of the causes, other than pipe bursts, for the decrease in revenue earnings from water.
You might also want to read: Preventing water shortages is at the top of Lepelle water’s list
Joubert added the continued lack of political will to address the issue of Mankweng’s debt, comprising approximately 35% of the debtors’ book, is also being addressed during each council meeting, with little to no success. He added the DA will submit a written question to the Speaker of Council, Mariri Ralefatane, to explain the reasons behind the under-billing of water, as well as a proposed new action plan to address the Mankweng debt issue.
According to tables in a document supplied to council during the last Council meeting, 79% of the capital budget was spent up to the end of the financial year. The approved capital budget for 2017/18 amounted to R1,230 billion of which R965 million was spent.
Of the capital expenditure on the renewal of existing assets, R290,82 million was budgeted, but later adjusted to R194,488 million.