Tshwane on power and water cutting rampage

The City of Tshwane on Wednesday continued an aggressive campaign to switch off the water and electricity connections of customers whose accounts have been in arrears for more than three months.

City manager Mmaesebata Mutlaneng, Tshwane Metro Police officers, and city technicians visited numerous businesses and government buildings to switch off connections.

The city provided updates on its progress throughout the day on Twitter, with the hashtags #TshwaneYaTima and #CoTRevenueCollection.

Among the notable locations included in its visits on the day was the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) Navy Logistics Division, which the metro has claimed owes R3.2 million for property rates.

Tshwane also cut off the premises from where the South African Police Service’s Pol TV operates for an outstanding bill of R2.4 million.

Private businesses that also received a visit included the Lake View Business Centre and Club Crossing Shopping Centre, which Tshwane claimed owed R2.7 million and 2.4 million, respectively.

The biggest bill was owed by the 5-star Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria’s CBD, which had R23 million outstanding.

The list of defaulters cut off by the city during the day was as follows:

  • Department of Infrastructure Development — R245 million
  • Department of Public Works — R110 million
  • Sheraton Hotel — R23 million
  • South African Women’s Federation — R5 million
  • SANDF Navy logistics building — R3.2 million
  • Lake View Business Centre — R2.7 million
  • Club Crossing Shopping Centre — R2.4 million 
  • South African Police Service Pol TV — R2.4 million
  • Commercial Crimes Court — R2.2 million
  • Department of Higher Education and Training — R2.1 million
  • Summermania Seven — R1.7 million
  • Department of Water and Sanitation — R1.37 million
  • Lyttelton Shopping Centre — R705,913
  • Morning Star Express Hotel — R573,668
  • Ditsong Museum — R294,288

According to Tshwane executive mayor Randall Williams, the city’s debtors owe the municipality more than R17 billion, which was unsustainable.

“Residential customers owe the city around R8 billion, businesses [owe] R4 billion and government departments and embassies owe R1.3 billion. The city is now on a campaign to disconnect services to all the defaulters,” Williams said.

“We are obligated in terms of municipal legislation to recover money due to the city. It’s not something we can do voluntarily; we’ve got an obligation to do it.”

Randall added while the city has been cutting off connections of defaulting customers for some time, it was now escalating its campaign and making it more visible.

The DA-led Tshwane metro is struggling with cash-flow problems, making it difficult to pay its dues to Eskom.

It previously cut off electricity to several national government departments, ministerial homes, and military bases, which resulted in “tens of millions” in debt paid back soon after that.

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Tshwane on power and water cutting rampage