Cogta steps in to aid Mpumalanga municipalities in rate collections

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SABC News

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The Mpumalanga Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is assisting municipalities to implement debt collecting strategies.

Municipalities in the province are struggling to collect more than R9 billion owed by business people and residents, which is revenue to provide services.

Lekwa and Dipaleseng Local Municipalities are collecting less than 60% of the revenue needed to deliver services.

The Bushbuckridge Local Municipality only collects 30%.

The Msukaligwa Local Municipality is owed more than R450 million by residents and business people.

Spokesperson Mandla Zwane says, “The problem of withholding or non-payments of services is adversely affecting the municipality and the community at large. The municipality is required to provide sufficient services in a sustainable manner … services like water, electricity, fire fighting and sewerage disposal, cemetery and road maintenance.”

According to the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, of the services rendered by municipalities, electricity is the biggest debt.

Most municipalities are not reimbursed sufficiently for electricity.

Spokesperson George Mthethwa says the department is currently assisting municipalities to install new electricity meters that will ensure that electricity debts are paid.

“We are confident that through the smart metering solutions, working with national Treasury, this will assist municipalities that are struggling in the area of recouping the money that is actually owed to them.”

Residents are urged to pay their debts owed to municipalities.