Msimanga administration writes off almost R400 million in irrecoverable debt for the poor in Tshwane

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After assuming office I, on behalf of the DA-led multiparty administration, made a commitment to addressing the plight of the poor residents of Tshwane and stabilising the finances of Tshwane.

We have kept our promise.

In doing so I am happy to announce that this administration has, as at the last meeting of Council, agreed to write off R371 140 786.13 in irrecoverable debt for the indigent residents across the City of Tshwane who continue to suffer under the weight of being unable to afford their municipal accounts. This is a progressive and pro-poor move by the Tshwane City Council and another victory for our vulnerable members of society.

Specifically, this administration has written off debt for the indigent for the following:

• Electricity – R15 249 710.82
• Interest – R20 469 388.21
• Property Rates- 522 861.38
• Sanitation- R31 666 435.65
• VAT- R42 283 282.93
• Waste Management- R301 088.13
• Water- R222 713 175.57
• Other- R37 934 743.44

Total = R371 140 786.13

This is in addition to the R754 million deemed irrecoverable debt Council elected to hold in abeyance for a period of 12 months pending possible write-off. This debt accumulated for the Mawiga Zone while still receiving services from the entity formerly known as Sandspruit Works Association (SWA) which Council previously voted to disestablish effective July 2017.

Sandspruit Works Association was a dysfunctional municipal entity, and in August 2016 Council voted unanimously to disestablish it and incorporate its functions into the City. It served an area in Region 1 called Mawiga (Mabopane, Winterveld & Garankuwa).

The write-off of the debt will be done on the condition that the residents affected begin paying for the monthly levies for municipal services provided to them by the city. This is designed to encourage the residents of Mawiga and across Tshwane to take responsibility and start being conscientious rate payers while also rehabilitating the debtor book.

50% of the debt will be written-off if a customer pays the current account in full for a period of 6 months and the other 50% if payment is received in full for another 6 months. This too is a progressive and pro-poor move by Council and the Mawiga residents are encouraged to make use of this opportunity.

This is further evidence that this administration does indeed care about the vulnerable residents of Tshwane.

During my inaugural Budget Speech I announced that we would provide a basket of free basic services for our indigent and low income people.

This basket of free basic services includes:

• The first R120 000 on the value of residential properties is exempt from all residential property previously is was R75 000;
• We have introduced a relief on properties with the value of R120 000 and less, these account holders will receive a discounted fee for waste services of R179,98 for a 240 litre bin.
• Registered indigent households are exempted from paying for refuse removal and property rates, irrespective of the value of the property they own;
• Pensioners, physically and mentally disabled persons are granted rebates under the policy conditions;
• Registered indigents are granted 100 kWh of electricity free of charge and 12 kℓ free of water charge;
• Writing-off of arrears accumulated at the time of registration; and
• Provision and free connection of prepaid electricity meter.

This has been achieved because we are a responsive government that keeps the promises it makes to its people.

By our actions and through our IDP supported by a fully-funded budget, we are making strides towards building a City that responds to needs of its residents and expands freedom, fairness and opportunity for all.

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