The Polokwane municipal council on Tuesday approved the writing off of a further R320,6 million owed by residential households in Mankweng as at the end of May 2020.
The debt includes R320 307 196 historical debt as well as debt incurred up to 30 June 2020.
All debt relating to an agreement and council resolution in February 2016, will however, be levied on the system, an amount of close to R73 million to be paid by Mankweng residents.
Business and government are excluded from the write-off, and their debt at the end of May stood at R6,3 million and R8,7 million respectively.
The municipality currently must supply water (12 megalitre per day) and handle sanitation (5,6 megalitre per day) at a cost of R3 million in Mankweng. These costs currently cannot be recovered.
Since 1996, owners have been obliged to pay property rates to the municipality, under the Local Government Property Rates Act, except for properties still registered under the RSA in Mankweng sections G and F.
Further conditions comprise an agreement to pay a flat rate of R292 per month per household for a period not exceeding 24 months.
This will comprise R200 for water and R92 for waste removal and sewage.
In the meantime the installation of smart meters will be fast-tracked, and after 24 months residents will have to pay as per consumption as determined by the municipality. Readings of meters already installed will be taken, and all consumption since the installation to date will be written off.
Consumers defaulting on the agreement will be listed at credit bureaus until payment or arrangements for payment, are made.
Assessment rates will be levied as from 1 July 2019 in line with the 2019/20124 valuation roll and municipal property rates as determined. Two areas in Mankweng have not yet been handed over to the municipality, but still fall under the old RSA. These areas will be billed for services and basic charges only, until the property is registered at the deeds office in the name of the owner. The write off of property rates will be implemented in all areas for those without title deeds.
All indigent accounts including the R292 balance will be written off and rebates granted in terms of the indigent policy.
Polokwane Mayor Thembi Nkadimeng was tasked to write to the MEC for CoGHSTA to fast–track the handing over of deeds of grants to occupiers of the properties and registration and transfer of the properties in the name of the municipality.
The decision and conditions will have to be communicated to the residents of Mankweng as soon a possible. Debt will be written off as soon as smart meters have been installed and acknowledged by the customer.
The municipality furthermore plans to engage Eskom with the aim of taking over the licence for electricity in the area. Currently the municipality is responsible for installation and maintenance of electricity in the area, but does not have an income from property rates which is used to finance these processes.
Story: Nelie Erasmus