Coun­cil cracks whip on de­fault­ers

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

THE Maseru City Coun­cil (MCC) is crack­ing the whip on res­i­dents who are de­fault­ing on pay­ing mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice fees.

Ac­cord­ing to MCC Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Lin­tle Bless, with­drawal of ser­vices and le­gal ac­tion were among the mea­sures the coun­cil would take on de­fault­ers.

She said most res­i­dents had been flout­ing the Val­u­a­tion and Rat­ing Act of 1980 which ob­li­gates res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­erty oc­cu­pants to pay mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice fees to en­sure the de­liv­ery of var­i­ous ser­vices from the coun­cil.

Ms Bless said com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial prop­erty oc­cu­pants were sup­posed to pay M170 monthly, while those with com­mu­nity con­tract­ing ar­range­ments for the col­lec­tion of garbage would pay M100. MCC bills the prop­erty oc­cu­pants on a quar­terly bills.

She said MCC had launched a cam­paign to raise aware­ness on the need to com­ply with the law, adding that the move was meant to gen­er­ate in­come so the coun­cil could ful­fil its man­date.

Among MCC’S re­spon­si­bil­i­ties is the col­lec­tion and dis­posal of refuse, con­struc­tion of mi­nor roads and side­walks, man­age­ment of parks and gar­dens, man­age­ment of streets and pub­lic places, burial grounds, is­su­ing build­ing per­mits and site al­lo­ca­tions.

“We have em­barked on a cam­paign to re­mind res­i­dents of Maseru ur­ban to com­ply with the Val­u­a­tion and Rat­ing Act of 1980, which states among oth­ers, that once a per­son has de­vel­oped a site within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the Maseru City Coun­cil, the prop­erty has to be val­ued in or­der to de­ter­mine the amount of mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice fee payable to the coun­cil ev­ery year,” Ms Bless said in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week.

She said any­body who de­vel­oped a site in Maseru af­ter 1980 is af­fected by the law, not­ing how­ever that there was very low com­pli­ance rate.

“We have re­alised that it is not every­body who is com­ply­ing with this law, and it is cur­rently a small per­cent­age of peo­ple who are com­ply­ing, hence the need to re­mind res­i­dents,” said Ms Bless.

“We are find­ing our­selves hav­ing to use funds col­lected from com­plaint com­mu­ni­ties to de­liver ser­vices to those who are not com­pli­ant and this is not sus­tain­able as the money is no longer enough.”

The orig­i­nal blan­ket for­mula for com­put­ing the an­nual mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice fee was 0.025 per­cent of the to­tal cost of ob­tain­ing the site plus the cost of de­vel­op­ing it.

How­ever, she said the for­mula had been re­vised down­wards to cater for dif­fer­ences in the eco­nomic sta­tuses of house­holds.

“This has been re­duced uced based on the sur­face area of the small­est­mallest pos­si­ble site which then gave us M170 per month for the ser­vice fees,” Ms Bless­less said.

“How­ever, for com­mu­ni­ties uni­ties which have mo­bilised their own con­tract­ing ser­vices for garbage col­lec­tion, on, the fig­ure goes down to M100 per month.” th.”

She said the coun­cil would iden­tify and ex­empt vul­ner­a­ble andnd un­der­priv­i­leged peo­ple from pay­ing.

“We work with com­mu­nity mmunity lead­er­ship struc­tures to iden­tify peo­ple who may not be in a po­si­tion to af­for­drd pay­ing the fees,” said Ms Bless.

“Th­ese may in­clude e un­em­ployed peo­ple, peo­ple with phys­i­cal hys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties or child-head­eded house­holds.”

Res­i­den­tial flats, shehe said, would also be af- fected as the M170 would be shared among the ten­ants.

“If, for in­stance, the res­i­den­tial flats have five rooms for rent­ing, each tenant would be ex­pected to pay M34 per month as con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the mu­nic­i­pal ser­vice fee,” Mss Bless said.

MCC Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer Lin­tle Bless

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