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Questions over massive water bill

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“This penalty means our system picked up the non-payment. We have sent out the 14 days’ notice to the customer and we are busy blocking as per our policy.”

WHILE the Sol Plaatje Municipality is facing a major cash crunch and the screws are being tightened on residents who are in arrears with their municipal accounts, allegations have been made that the local authority is turning a blind eye to companies that owe hundreds of thousands of rand.

A city resident pointed out that a housing estate in Hillcrest owed the Sol Plaatje Municipality more than R700 000 for water.

“However, nothing is done by the municipality to collect these arrears and services continue to be provided, even though this matter was brought to the attention of the municipality several months ago,” said the resident.

At the time, the municipality said that the account appeared to be the total account for some properties in the complex. “The team will separate the accounts tomorrow and will start to cut off services from tomorrow. There will be no holy cows.”

This statement was issued by Sol Plaatje spokesperson, Sello Matsie, at the end of January. However, nothing was done.

The balance brought forward at the beginning of last month was in excess of R675 000. The penalty for the non-payment of pre-paid is reflected as R400, while the interest on the sundry arrears is less than R10 and interest on water arrears is just over R4 500. The interim water account charged for February is around R180 000.

No payment amount is reflected on the account.

Matsie said that the R400 penalty fine meant that the meter was blocked.

“This penalty means our system picked up the non-payment. We have sent out the 14 days’ notice to the customer and we are busy blocking as per our policy.”

He added further that the municipality would investigate tampering at the property on the customer’s side or if there was a “system integration issue for effective disconnection on the municipality’s side”.