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City to recover outstanding debt
TO RECOVER debt owed to eThekwini Municipality while ensuring transparency in the process and unpack the extent of the work done to recover outstanding debt owed by government departments and parastatals, a report outlining processes undertaken was tabled at an Executive Committee meeting held on 14 August.

The report outlined the following entities including the National Ports Authority, Transnet, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), the Department of Human Settlements and the Ingonyama Trust who collectively owe the City R231.3 million. This amount includes R216.6 million in arrears and R14.6 million current debt. The tabled report notes that the amounts outstanding have not been recovered due to various factors which includes departments and parastatals raising objections against the value of their properties.

And if they are unhappy with the outcome they raise appeals and in most cases do not pay for rates until the appeal process is finalised. The report concludes that the outstanding amount will be recovered from the parastatals once the valuation issues are resolved, while the amounts owed by the Department of Human Settlements will be reversed once the Executive Committee and Council approves the report. The amount owed by the Ingonyama Trust is always included in the provision for bad debts, the report states.

Deputy City Manager of Finance Krish Kumar said progress has been made regarding the recovery of debt. “Our Section 71 report is unlike other cities and the detail we have included in the report has been commended. We brought the report to the Executive Committee to ensure they can play their oversight role efficiently,” he said. Addressing concerns that the City was lenient towards government departments and parastatals but not residents who were in arrears, Kumar said the City always acted fairly. “We follow due processes regarding disconnection and endeavour to treat all customers fairly whether it is residents or a parastatal,” he said.
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