The City of Johannesburg makes no apologies for wanting to build a City that is among other things well-run, safe, and business-friendly. But the reality is that doing so costs money, even if the best people are elected or appointed to do so.
Just yesterday, we completed the process of appointing the boards of Joburg’s thirteen Municipal Entities, which include, Joburg Water, City Power, Pikitup and the Johannesburg Development Agency. These agencies are responsible for delivering services to the residents of Joburg efficiently and at a reasonable cost; and while I have full confidence in these entities and their boards, I know full well that without the necessary funding they will struggle to realise their respective service delivery obligations.
Filling potholes, fixing taps, and keeping residents safe is only possible when residents play their part by paying their municipal bills on time.
Now, imagine if the City had 50% more revenue it could use for capital projects that could bring an end to rolling blackouts in the City. Imagine if the City had at its disposal 50% more revenue it could use to build substance abuse facilities and clinics. Imagine if the City had 50% more revenue it could use to deploy more JMPD Officers and keep residents safe. Imagine what could be possible!
To put this in context, residents, business, and government owe the City around R38-billion in unpaid municipal rates, taxes, and levies, which is just over half of the 2021/22 budget that comes in at over R73-billion. So, when I ask you to imagine a City that delivers, works, is safe and offers great opportunities, I am asking you to imagine what is judiciously possible.
Two-weeks ago, alongside side some of the MMCs present today, I launched the Multi-Party Government’s region-by-region Buya Mthetho campaign to collect revenue from delinquent ratepayers, in order to send a strong warning to municipal account holders, who ignore our pleas and demands to pay their bills on time.
When we terminate services today, it should come as little to no surprise to the account holders, given that we have sent pre-termination notices in one form or another, warning them of their debt to the municipality and the promise to cut them off.
While the City acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic and the avoidable July unrest had a dire effect on the finances of businesses and individuals, what we will not accept is when municipal account holders who have the means to pay but simply do not do so.
On the other hand, we are re-opening the Debt Rehabilitation Programme to actively help residents who are genuinely struggling to pay their municipal bills, and we encourage our residents to apply for the programme online or at any walk-in centre.
There are options available to City account holders; unfortunately, today as the City we are left with no option but to terminate the services of these account holders. The culture of non-payment must be remedied, and one such medicine is to take the drastic but necessary step of cutting off services.
Issued by the City of Johannesburg
For media queries please contact:
Private Office of the Executive Mayor
084 677 7851