‘Our message is hitting home’: City of Tshwane as ‘defaulting customers’ pay up or dispute unpaid debts

10 February 2022 - 13:16
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Tshwane mayor Randall Williams. File photo.
Tshwane mayor Randall Williams. File photo.

The lights are back on at Denel’s Lyttelton campus — where the electricity supply was cut off on Wednesday because of unpaid municipal accounts — after payment arrangements were negotiated with the City of Tshwane.

This was confirmed on Thursday by Denel spokesperson Pam Malinda.

Denel was one of the “defaulting customers” — including government offices, shopping malls and hotels — which teams of technicians “unplugged” on Wednesday in a drive to recover debts owed for municipal services.

The city carried out the disconnections in a blaze of publicity, naming several government departments and businesses who had unpaid bills.

Malinda said Denel had made arrangements with the city to pay its debt. “We had lights this morning.”

The department of international relations and co-operation (Dirco) was also targeted, but denied owing the city.

Tshwane mayor Randall Williams joined a team at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria to cut off services due to non payment and said the city’s debtors’ book stood at R17bn, including R1.3bn owed by government departments and embassies.

Dirco said it had noted media reports that it, foreign missions and other government departments owed the city billions in arrears.

“This is despite several attempts by Dirco to reach out to the City of Tshwane to provide copies of outstanding invoices seemingly owed by Dirco and by foreign missions.

“The City of Tshwane responded in writing on Monday, February 7 2022, confirming that the Dirco accounts to the city are current and up-to-date with no outstanding payments,” said Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

The department was liaising with the city to refer outstanding payments by foreign missions to Dirco to enable the department to engage them on the issue.

“In several cases, disputes were lodged, but despite the accounts being disputed and proof of payment having been sent to the City of Tshwane, the municipality has nevertheless gone ahead and disconnected power erroneously,” said Monyela.

In some instances, foreign missions were in arrears, but had made the necessary arrangements to settle the accounts.

“Dirco has requested the City of Tshwane to retract the media statements that cast aspersions on Dirco as well as foreign missions who fall under the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act.”


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