CHDM to charge in­ter­est on ac­counts

The Rep - - NEWS - ZOLILE MENZELWA

WHILE ratepay­ers have not been re­ceiv­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion ac­counts from Chris Hani District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (CHDM) since it took over the ser­vice in 2014, the coun­cil this week ap­proved charg­ing in­ter­est on out­stand­ing ac­counts as from July 1.

The pro­posal was ap­proved dur­ing an or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing on Tues­day.

CHDM ex­ec­u­tive mayor Kholiswa Vim­bayo said the district author­ity had not been charg­ing in­ter­est on out­stand­ing ac­counts since 2014.

She out­lined some of the rea­sons as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity do­ing data cleans­ing and ac­counts to be cred­ited be­fore such in­ter­est could be charged.

“The mi­gra­tion of data from the eight [now six] lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and con­sol­i­dat­ing it into one data­base took longer than an­tic­i­pated and re­sulted in billing and print­ing of ac­counts be­ing de­layed by sev­eral months.”

Fail­ure to charge in­ter­est on ar­rears had been queried by the au­di­tor­gen­eral with the mat­ter find­ing its way into the 2014-15 and 2015-16 audit re­ports.

“The chal­lenges re­lat­ing to data in­tegrity led to a de­ci­sion to em­bark on a data cleans­ing process that would en­sure that ac­counts billed and sent to cus­tomers are cor­rect.”

Face-to-face con­sul­ta­tions on ac­counts had been con­ducted in al­most all towns in the district.

Coun­cil had in­tro­duced a debt in­cen­tive that of­fered the write-off of a por­tion of the debt on pay­ment of a pre­de­ter­mined per­cent­age of that debt.

“In view of the afore­men­tioned in­ter­ven­tions, man­age­ment is of the view that in­ter­est should be levied on ac­counts that are in ar­rears as per the re­quire­ments of both the MFMA and the credit con­trol and debt col­lec­tion pol­icy of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to ad­dress the audit find­ings of the two pre­vi­ous years.”

Coun­cil ap­proved im­ple­men­ta­tion of the charg­ing of in­ter­est from July 1, with in­ter­est from July 2014 to June 2017 to be treated as rev­enue for­gone and to un­der­take pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns to in­form com­mu­ni­ties of the de­ci­sion.

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