Tshwane intensifies campaign to cut off power over unpaid bills

Through Tshwane Ya Tima, Tshwane aims to recoup R23,3 billion owed by various customers. Picture: Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

Through Tshwane Ya Tima, Tshwane aims to recoup R23,3 billion owed by various customers. Picture: Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 6, 2024


Many businesses and residents in Pretoria were plunged into darkness yesterday when the City of Tshwane officials intensified the aggressive Tshwane Ya Tima campaign to cut off electricity and water over non-payment of municipal accounts.

Tshwane targeted at least the top 1 500 defaulting consumers who collectively owed the municipality a total of R6.2 billion.

Shoppers at Suncardia Shopping Centre, which houses Shoprite and other retail stores in Sunnyside, were left in darkness after the business property’s lights were switched off. The company is saddled with R4 million debt of unpaid bills.

Two student accommodations in town found themselves in hot water after they were disconnected for unpaid accounts, with one of them owing at least R2.7m.

MMC of Finance Jacqui Uys and MMC for Human Settlements and Roads & Transport Ofentse Madzebatela outside Ndlala Dynasty student accomodation, which was also disconnected. Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

Finance MMC Jacqui Uys said the campaign was aimed at recouping a staggering R23.3bn it was owed by various customers.

However, she said, the municipality has turned its focus on the top 1 500 debtors, who collectively owe R6.2bn.

She said the City dispatched at least 10 teams of officials to embark on the disconnection drive of services.

“If you can’t afford your debt, take responsibility for it; make payment arrangements,” Uys said.

Shoppers at Suncardia Shopping Centre were left in the dark after electricity was cut off for non-payment. Picture: Jacques Naude/ Independent Newspapers

MMC for Human Settlements Ofentse Madzebatela said one of the culprits of disconnection was a building said to be owned by the SAPS, which owed the City almost a R1m.

“So, what we are doing is to ensure that we get these 1 500 owers to the City to ensure that they pay what they owe to the City so that we can be able to rescue the finances of the City,” he said.

He said residents who can’t afford to service their debt can make payment arrangements or register for an indigent programme to receive free basic services.

On Monday, deputy mayor Nasiphi Moya and MMC for Economic Development and Spatial Planning Hannes Coetzee led a Tshwane Ya Tima campaign in Centurion to switch off electricity to defaulting customers.

A landlord in one of the business properties, where an account was disconnected, owed more than R143 000.

Moya said: “To our surprise, the offices are deserted and there has been no one here for the past six months. We have left our information and we will be able to track down the customer. We have set ourselves a target to say we will raise R6bn in the next six months. So, it is important that we follow these monies so that we can be able to offer services that the residents deserve.”

Pretoria News

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