The Executive Mayor of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, visited Sandton as part of Operation Buya Mthetho (bring back the law) to cut-off water supply to government buildings, businesses and residents with outstanding municipal accounts.
- Earlier this month, Mayor Phalatse announced the City’s revenue collection campaign to manage ratepayers.
- Residents, businesses, and government owe the City of Johannesburg around R38-billion in unpaid municipal rates, taxes, and levies, which is just over half of the 2021/22 budget that comes in at over R73-billion.
- The City has adopted an approach that says if you can pay, you must pay, and if you refuse to pay, you will be cut you off.
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In dealing with ratepayers in arrears – those who have the means to pay but do not – the Executive Mayor warned that there will no longer be a soft approach. The Sandton blitz kicked off at the home of municipal pension funds, SALA House in Fredman Drive. Outstanding bills here amount to R7,4 million.
Yet Africa’s richest square mile owes the City significantly more. Sandton City has been issued with a pre-termination notice for its outstanding bill of R168-million, according to City officials. Operation Buya Mthetho visited multiple properties in greater Sandton whose debt to the municipality had reached a point where services needed to be cut off, like Sandown Village Office Park with an outstanding bill of R660’000.
Well aware of the tough economic times that have befallen many Johannesburg residents, the City has reopened its Debt Rehabilitation Programme in order to help ratepayers who are struggling to keep their municipal accounts up to date. But the City will not accept delivering services to municipal account holders who have the means to pay but simply do not do so.
The City argues that filling potholes, fixing taps, and keeping residents safe is only possible when residents play their part by paying their municipal bills on time. The City looks to end the culture of non-payment, and one such medicine is to take the drastic step of cutting off services.
The Executive Mayor was joined by the MMC for Safety, Cllr David Tembe, MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Service, Cllr Michael Sun, MMC for Finance, Cllr Julie Suddaby, as well as officials and personnel from JMPD, City Power and Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS).
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