LOCAL: Municipality aims to recoup debt

The municipality is undertaking a massive project to cover its losses.

Following on from a presentation to the Executive Committee (Exco) on November 21, Director of Financial Management, Asha Haripersad explained just how the municipality aimed to recoup its current debt.

At its core, the project was to reclaim outstanding dues from July to date.

As of November 30 this year, total debt across Newcastle East and West stood at R981 524 745, 57, with the bulk of this amount owed by individuals.

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“The main focus is to get people to pay their dues from July to date.”

During the presentation to Exco, Haripersad outlined the problems facing payment factors in terms of water and sewage, which are interlinked.

This was in part to a specific industry failing to make payment.

“To turn this around, people must pay for what they use. The focus point is billing to match what people receive.”

Revealing the action plan for Newcastle West, Haripersad said 260 accounts were under investigation, with the department scrutinising debt resolution arrangements.

This would be followed by serving of notices, with intention to disconnect utilities.

Since then, Haripersad said 120 households had been restricted to date, with another 60 disconnections due this week.

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“For amounts from July to date, consumers have until May 2018 to pay the backlog. The idea is to get in this year’s money before June.”

The department would also conduct an indigent review soon, which involved an analysis of whether residents were indigent or not.

SMSes were also being sent to these consumers to re-apply for indigent status.

“We will also call those who don’t receive the SMSes and send letters. We’ve already de-registered 1 000 consumers so far.”

Municipal Manager, Errol Mswane said he was passionate about this project and was adamant about bringing information to the public attention.

“Consumers must simply pay,” he concluded.

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You can also email our offices on Reveshni Douglas at [email protected] Quinton Boucher at [email protected] Bruce Douglas at [email protected] Tersia Gopi at [email protected] Zianne Leibrandt at [email protected]

Bruce Douglas

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