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Joburg hunting non-paying residents at roadblocks

The City of Joburg is going after non-paying residents at roadblocks to recover some of the debt owed to the municipality.

During an interview with eNCA, Tebogo Moraka, chief financial officer at the City of Johannesburg, said indebted residents will be able to enter into an Acknowledgement of Debt (AOD) at roadblocks if they are unable to pay in full.

“As part of our credit control processes, we try to always enhance our revenue collection and debt collection measures,” said Moraka.

“The idea with the roadblock situation is not for JMPD to arrest motorists — I think we should allay those fears. The finance team will be joining JMPD at certain roadblocks.”

“The revenue team will be there to explain to you the situation, explain that you owe for services, and if a motorist would like to enter into an AOD at that point, they will do so with a revenue official,” he added.

He explained this would apply to non-paying residents to whom the City has already issued pre-term notices who fail to pay their bill or enter into an AOD.

“This is just a process of increasing our capacity in terms of reaching out to our residents. This is just another contact point for residents to engage with our finance officials,” said Moraka.

“We know some of the economic hardships that some of our residents face. When you get to a roadblock, and you can’t pay, we can explain to you the various options that the City of Johannesburg has.”

“You can enter into an acknowledgement of debt where you enter into a payment plan going forward,” he added.

Moraka said City of Joburg finance officials will give those impacted a physical copy of their statement on the spot.

Tebogo Moraka, chief financial officer at the City of Johannesburg

“We wouldn’t want the situation where we would come for level one, level two, or level three disconnections for residents’ services,” he added.

Moraka defined the level one, two, and three disconnections as follows:

  • Level one — After the City has issued a pre-term notice, and the resident hasn’t entered into an AOD or paid their debt within 14 days, the City will switch off the switch box for electricity or water, depending on what you owe.
  • Level two — If level one measures don’t work and the resident still hasn’t paid or entered into an AOD, the City will go to their building and physically remove the meter.
  • Level three — Assuming there is still no payment or agreement, the City will remove its infrastructure for the resident’s building.

Moraka explained that the City isn’t just going after non-paying residents in affluent areas through roadblocks. It is also expanding the capacity of its bylaw unit in the JMPD to tackle illegal connections.

“One of the things that the City manager mentioned was the fact that we will be increasing the capacity of the bylaw unit within the JMPD, specifically focussing on illegal connections in informal settlements,” he said.

“People and businesses, even in affluent areas, are illegally connecting themselves, even after we disconnect.”

“It is a culture of lawlessness that we are trying to correct,” added Moraka.

MyBroadband asked the City of Joburg for further details on its plans, but it had not answered our questions by the time of publication.

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