Municipality to clean up indigent register

Municipal water restrictors for payment defaults have had unexpected consequences.

MADADENI – Municipal water restrictors have had unexpected consequences.

The restrictors, installed in areas of Madadeni and oSizweni where the municipality does not supply electricity, were intended to compel residents to settle their accounts or make payment arrangements with the municipality.

However, in many instances tenants are instead bearing the brunt.

In Tuesday’s Executive Committee (Exco) meeting, officials explained some tenants were left without services as a result of the property owner not settling the municipal account.

This led Mayor, Makhosini Nkosi to call for an indigent register clean-up.

“The issue is that people who can pay are registered as indigent and those who can’t are not.”

Another unintended by-effect of the restrictors is bribery by certain municipal employees, who reportedly ask a small ‘fee’ to remove restrictors or not install them in the first place.

Cllr Nkosi wanted these issues explained to the community in person.

He said there needed to be a campaign encouraging households earning less than a combined R3 500 monthly to re-register as indigents, and to explain to the community what was expected of them.

“The quality of services in the township areas must improve but not at the expense of paying consumers.”

According to information given in Exco, there is evidence of approximately 540 civil servants who can pay their bills but do not.

However, each case needed ‘to be treated on its own merit’.

Officials asked for a workshop with ward committees to identify indigent and non-indigent residents through on-the-ground information.

“We need to inform the ward councillors of who can and who can’t afford to pay, and instruct them to come forward,” Cllr Nkosi added.

Portfolio Chair of Development Planning and Human Settlements, Matthew Shunmugam requested a report be submitted with a list of restricted properties and the implications thereof.

This was agreed upon by Exco in general.

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