The Gamagara municipality re-ceived a notice from both Es-kom and Sedibeng Water about their intentions to interrupt the bulk electricity and water supply, un-less the municipality settles its out-standing debt with these suppliers.
According to a spokesperson from the office of the Mayor, Kamogelo Semamai, the municipality currently owes Eskom an amount of R55-million and Sedibeng Water an amount of R8-million. The municipa-lity entered into debt settlement ag-reements with both the above men-tioned suppliers back in June 2016.
The municipality has been expe-riencing billing problems for the past two years and decided to terminate the services of Sebata (the financial system provider) and contracted a new financial system, ie Vesta Tech-nical Services.
The new service provider was tasked to conduct a meter audit be-fore migration to ensure that bills are accurate. However, due to time con-straints, the meter audit could not be completed on time and the migration to the new system was based on the old data. As a result, the municipality continued experiencing problems with our billing after migration to the new system in July 2017 until Octo-ber 2017.
During this period Gamagara could not generate municipal state-ments and as a result their custo-mers could not pay them, including government and business. During the same period, they could not meet their obligations to their bulk supply creditors ie Eskom and Se-dibeng Water as they were not gene-rating enough revenue. However,
the MMS statements were distribu-ted in October 2017.
Gamagara had several meetings with the above mentioned utilities, however they ultimately issued Ga-magara with notices to interrupt their supply as they have not paid them since July 2017. The municipality has since made a R9,7-million pay-ment to Eskom and will continue to pay them as they collect the out-standing debt.
The municipality's primary func-tion is to provide basic services to its residents with minimum or no inter-ruptions. They do this by collecting all levies or monies for the services consumed for the month by the resi-dents. The majority of their billing problems have been resolved and they will be distributing them within this week via the post office as well.
The municipality urges all resi-dents to be responsible citizens by settling all outstanding monies due to the municipality or make neces-sary arrangements to settle such
within the policies of the municipality to avoid any of the following actions:
Disconnection and restriction of electricity and water.
Handover to legal practitioners for collection.
Blacklisting at the credit bureau.
Attachment of the property (ies).
Please note that the municipality takes these actions as the last re-sort, as their primary function is to provide a service and therefore dis-continuing any service negatively af-fects their operations. They however have no choice but to collect the outstanding debt and settle the ab-ovementioned outstanding debt, else the whole municipality, inclu-ding customers whose accounts are up to date, will be interrupted.
It is against this background that they urge all residents with outstand-ing debts to take advantage of the settlement incentives availed by council and settle their debt or make settlement arrangements with the municipality's debt collection unit.
The municipality has set up a com-mittee of senior managers headed by the acting Municipal Manager, who deal with both the Eskom and Sedibeng Water matters, as well as the debt owed to the municipality. They will continue to engage both Eskom and Sedibeng Water to avert any interruption of services, as they believe that this is not necessary. The municipality has enough money to settle both these utilities if the cus-tomers pay their outstanding debts.
Gamagara municipality sincerely wishes to thank all their customers for your understanding, patience and trust you have in them, to deliver on their constitutional mandate.
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