The closure was necessitated to disinfect the offices and also to allow staff who were in direct contact with officials who had tested positive to self-isolate and to undergo testing themselves.
THE SOL Plaatje Municipality’s various cashier sections remained closed on Wednesday, preventing members of the public from paying their monthly municipal accounts.
Municipal spokesperson Thoko Riet said that the closure was necessitated by precautionary measures to disinfect offices in the institution’s buildings and also to allow staff who were in direct contact with officials who had tested positive for Covid-19 to self-isolate and to undergo testing themselves.
The local authority was reluctant to indicate how much cash was normally taken by the cashiers each month-end, stating that this posed a security risk.
It did, however, confirm that non-payment by residents, as a result of the cashier sections being closed, increased the risk of the municipality not being able to meet its commitments to creditors.
It indicated further that this was also affected by the adverse cash flow position and low payment rate during Covid-19.
The municipality’s ability to pay its employees could also be affected by the current adverse cash flow position facing the institution.
Referring to arrangements made by the municipality to ensure it is able to meet its commitments to creditors, Riet stated that the local authority continued to consult with affected creditors to enter into payment arrangements.
“Government departments will also be engaged to pay their municipal accounts, now that the majority of staff are back at work.”
She pointed out that the municipality’s credit control could not be diligently applied during the lockdown as per the policy and legislative requirements.
“Going forward, all credit control interventions will have to be carefully considered, especially considering those individuals who have lost their jobs or experienced salary cuts and also businesses that have been severely affected. All individuals who lost their livelihoods and meet the minimum indigent requirements are encouraged to apply as an indigent at the municipality.”
Meanwhile, Riet pointed out that while the cashier officials underwent the necessary precautionary tests and isolation, the Civic Centre would be open from Thursday, while all other cashier points would gradually also reopen as more officials were cleared from Covid-19 concerns.
The municipality appealed to the public to use other third-party outlets, like supermarkets and EasyPay, to pay their monthly service accounts.
“We also encourage residents to add the municipality as a beneficiary in the mobile banking platforms for ease of effecting payment and to reduce long queues and promote social distancing.
“Lastly, we would also like to express our sincere gratitude to all our clients who managed to settle their accounts during this difficult period.”