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19/09/2016: Provincial Government has 30 days to resolve R259 million owed to City 
Following an investigation I can reveal that Gauteng government departments owe the City of Joburg R259 million in outstanding rates.
Today, I will write to the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, giving his government 30 days to either pay the R259 million or enter an acceptable repayment agreement with the City, as any other defaulting resident is expected to do.

Failure to do so will result in the City taking immediate action – where possible – cutting services to defaulting departments. We urge the defaulting departments to urgently comply within this timeframe so that such action will not be necessary.

This lack of discipline by the provincial government is unacceptable. How can ordinary residents be expected to pay their bills when government departments do not?

The department’s guilty of failing to meet their rates payments are as follows:

1. The Department of Infrastructure and Development – R161 million;
2. The Department of Human Settlements – R39 million; and
3. The Department of Health – R59 million

These provincial government departments, who budget for rates and taxes, have not paid their dues to the City for a long time. One has to ask what has happened to their budget which would have been set aside for this purpose?

This debt owed to the people of Johannesburg has clearly accumulated over time and it is disgraceful that the previous ANC-led administration allowed the ANC-run provincial government to get away with this for so long.

This amounts to hundreds of millions of rand worth of lost opportunities to improve service delivery to the people of this City, especially those in the poorest communities.

Shamefully, the previous ANC administration in our City led a campaign of harassing ordinary residents for outstanding rates payments. In some cases services were cut-off, while the City allowed its own party’s office bearers in the provincial government to get away with stealing from the residents of this City.

It is becoming clearer by the day that the previous administration in this City had it priorities wrong.

The politically connected were protected while the ordinary person on the street was neglected and harassed.

The provincial government has effectively been robbing from the poor.

I have a clear message to give to Premier Makhura and his government: From today, you will not receive free lunches in the City of Joburg any longer. Pay up or face the consequences.

Between April and June this year, money owed by residents to the City grew by R2.8 billion. Evidently, the provincial government has been a large contributor to this.

The billing crisis has plagued our City’s residents for decades. Last week I announced that I will be organising a billing indaba.

There will be three central issues which will be addressed at the indaba.

Firstly, we need to produce an accurate indigent list to protect our poorest residents and ensure that they have access to free services. Currently we have people unable to pay for services. Some of whom are having their homes seized because they cannot afford the services that their neighbours receive for free.

Secondly, we need to introduce measures to improve revenue collection in our city. There are far too many people who can afford to pay but are currently failing to do so as a result of flaws in the billing system, outdated account details, or simply ignoring their bills.

Increasing revenue collection will allow us to use this money to improve infrastructure and service delivery, especially to the poor who need it most.

Finally, we need to review current mechanisms and introduce new mechanisms for processing and resolving billing complaints. Our residents go to hell and back to resolve issues. We have to be a more responsive and caring government than our predecessors.

But before I launch this Indaba, government departments must honour their payments to our City.

I would like to thank our coalition partners and the EFF for their agreement with our stance: there will be no special treatment under the new administration in Johannesburg.

Far too many of our residents have been suffering with a lack, if any, of quality basic services and it is unacceptable for the provincial government to expect special favours.

This ends today.

Issued by the City of Johannesburg

Executive Mayor, Councillor Herman Mashaba
Media enquiries:

Tony Taverna-Turisan
Director: Mayoral Communications