Council blames government for financial woes

THE embattled Tshwane municipality is blaming the Gauteng provincial government and defaulting residents for its financial woes because they owe them more than R3,382billion.

THE embattled Tshwane municipality is blaming the Gauteng provincial government and defaulting residents for its financial woes because they owe them more than R3,382billion.

The provincial government owes the municipality R382million for infrastructure development, housing subsidies, health and ambulance services - which was supposed to have been paid by the end of June.

According to member of the mayoral committee for finance, William Mahlangu, a total of R3billion owed by ratepayers was historic as the municipality inherited defaulters' arrears from the amalgamation of 13 municipalities to form the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality in 2000.

Mahlangu admitted that recovering this debt was a serious challenge.

"We have done everything in our power to collect what is owed to us. We appointed legal firms to collect debt and we have begun to see results in this regard because people are coming forward to make payment arrangements, he said.

"We also went to the extent of disconnecting services and attaching defaulters' properties," Mahlangu said.

Asked if management was competent enough to handle the city's finances, Mahlangu said: "We have full confidence in our chief financial officer and our long-term investment is healthy.

"The council currently has R8,14million in the investment portfolio, so we have been managing the city's finances very well."

The municipality, which houses the country's capital city, is unable to recover the R100million owed by Moretele, Madibeng and Kungwini municipalities for bulk water.

This contributed to the municipality's failure to pay more than R495million it owes Rand Water. Mahlangu said they have cut water supply to the municipalities to force them to pay.

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