who took the money, honey?

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

"People's Poet" Mzwakhe Mbuli owes the City of Johannesburg close to R200000 in unpaid water and electricity bills - and if he does not pay up the services to his home in the plush southern suburb of Mondeor will be cut.

And he will face legal action.

But Mbuli blames his ex-wife Nomsa for the financial furore and says the account is in her name. The couple divorced in April.

He says she squandered the thousands of rands that were meant to be spent on accounts while he was in jail from 1997 to 2003 for robbing a bank.

"While in jail I gave Nomsa between R10000 and R15000 every month so that she could pay the bills," Mbuli said.

"I was shocked when I received the letter from the council saying I owed an amount of R110339."

Mbuli said a total of R169269 in royalties was paid to his former wife, who also received his dividends.

Mbuli told Sowetan yesterday that when he was in prison he gave authority to the SA Music Rights Organisation to deposit royalties into Nomsa's account.

Now he is baffled why she had not paid the lights and water account.

"What also surprises me is that though the account is in Nomsa's name, the council says it is me who owes them the money."

In total, Mbuli owes the council about R198 000, including interest charges.

The letter from the municipality reads: "You are hereby notified that unless immediate payment of the outstanding amount is made to the council, we will issue an instruction to cut off services and institute legal action."

Mbuli said he would challenge the demand and has already instructed his attorney to do so.

Nomsa Mbuli refused to comment.