Municipalities join in to expose bill-dodging government departments

Celani Sikhakhane

It appears that there is no longer anywhere to hide for government departments that owe water and electricity bills.

In the past few weeks the City of Tshwane and Joburg’s City Power have exposed the departments that haven’t been paying their bills for years.

Zululand District Municipality has become the latest local administration to expose outstanding fees.

According to District Mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi, provincial government departments owe R6.6 million in unpaid water bills.

Buthelezi said the departments of Health, Education, Social Development and the two Zulu Royal palaces, Khangelamankengane and eNyokeni, are among the biggest culprits.

“While ordinary citizens pay their water and electricity the Provincial Government continues to display an arrogant culture regarding the services they receive,” said Buthelezi.

KwaZulu-Natal government Head of Communication Lennox Mabaso dismissed Buthelezi’s claims and said the figures are incorrect.

“Buthelezi’s claims are confusing because his staff members have apologised for the previous claims he made about the water bills of the Royal palaces. The debts he is talking about are monthly bills that are paid by relevant departments every end of the month,” said Mabaso.

“Premier Zikalala has also engaged the treasurer to prioritise the payments of all municipal services including Zululand although we have a problem with their billing system.”

Meanwhile, the City of Johannesburg revealed on Monday that they have terminated municipal services to Johannesburg Correctional Services which owes R6.8 million.

Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo told Cape Talk that they have paid a certain amount and the services were reconnected.

He said the facility was being rented from a landlord and as a third party user they did not know that there were payments owing for municipal services.

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