Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor is confident that the municipality is winning the battle to reduce the outstanding debts of over R600 million on which Polokwane Observer reported last week.
In an exclusive interview last Thursday, Nkadimeng said that the municipality’s business is in order and reminded that it was confirmed by the Auditor-General’s Report for the financial year that ended on 30 June 2014 where no adverse findings regarding the income or expenditure management of the municipality were made.
“We are working hard to reduce the debt book and are in the process of appointing five more agents to assist with debt management that will include issuing of notices and termination of services of defaulters,” Nkadimeng said and added that it was not true that some defaulters receive preferential treatment. “The services of defaulters that have not made acceptable arrangements with the municipality, will be terminated or restricted, and that includes councillors,” Nkadimeng assured.
Nkadimeng also explained that some defaulters have declared disputes regarding their accounts and while the cases are investigated, no interest is charged on the outstanding amounts as long as they just pay their average accounts. On other debts that are outstanding, the municipality charges interest and legislation provides that the properties involved may only be disposed of once all outstanding municipal dues are paid to enable a clearance certificate to be issued. Nkadimeng also agreed that most of the disputes that are registered, stem from the new billing system that was introduced three years ago. “There had been some challenges with the implementation of the system and migration of data and we are still working on this,” she said.
Nkadimeng pointed out that the amount of R600 million that is outstanding, not only relates to assessment rates and services, but includes all debts to the municipality and in particular the current month-to-month debts.
Nkadimeng invited consumers to engage with the municipality’s officials in the event of any problems with billing.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN
Photo: Thembi Nkadimeng, Polokwane Executive Mayor.