Dis­traught owner’s tale of con­fu­sion

The Star Early Edition - - METRO WATCH - ANNA COX @an­na­cox

TO­TAL con­fu­sion reigns over a dis­traught Jeppestown prop­erty owner, Tu Nokwe, who keeps re­ceiv­ing ac­counts rang­ing from R134 000 to R1.9 mil­lion.

Nokwe re­cently re­ceived a bill for R1.9m. She queried the bill but got nowhere.

“Ever since I’ve dealt with them on mat­ters need­ing clar­ity and so­lu­tions, they seem to drag un­til I’m forced to start afresh or just give up and lose money to avoid stress.

“One time a worker charged me R5 000 as a de­posit for the ap­pli­ca­tion of a pre­paid me­ter. It took a long time for them to come and in­stall it. When I fol­lowed up, I was told the re­ceipt I had was not a le­git­i­mate Joburg City re­ceipt.

“I asked to be con­nected to that worker and she dis­ap­peared into thin air. I was told by others that she still works there. So my money drowned. I tried to ap­ply for rates con­sol­i­da­tion. I wasn’t win­ning,” she said.

Nokwe said she is re­ally tired and wor­ries what such stress could be do­ing to her health. “I have no peace of mind at all about these mat­ters and they have gone on for many years,” she said.

Even­tu­ally, af­ter months of fight­ing, her bill was re­duced to R164 000, then to R134 000. Yet last week, she got a let­ter from at­tor­neys ad­vis­ing her that she owes R1.95m.

When Metrowatch asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the City of Joburg’s rev­enue de­part­ment, we were told she owes R219 000.

The City of Joburg, in its re­ply, said: “Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion shows that the cus­tomer is owing about R219 000; as a re­sult of part-pay­ing and non-pay­ment.”

The city’s spokesper­son, Kga­manyane Mapholo­gela, says the records show that the cus­tomer has been in­con­sis­tent in her pay­ments over the years.

Mapholo­gela warns that con­tin­ued fail­ure to pay the mu­nic­i­pal ac­counts will re­sult in cus­tomers hav­ing their ser­vices dis­con­nected.

“While the cus­tomers may still have a le­git­i­mate query which the city is deal­ing with, they must con­tinue to pay for other ser­vices con­sumed to avoid credit con­trol,” says Mapholo­gela.

He ad­vises that cus­tomers who are un­able to ser­vice their debt owing to fi­nan­cial rea­sons can ap­proach the city and make pay­ment ar­range­ments.

Mapholo­gela says cus­tomers can still pay their ac­counts us­ing third-party pay­ment meth­ods.

“If you don’t like queues, you may pay us­ing any of the listed meth­ods be­low.”

With EasyPay, fa­cil­i­tat­ing a quick pay­ment op­tion at many shops that you visit on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, in­clud­ing Pick n Pay and Sho­prite Check­ers. Cus­tomer Ser­vice Cen­tres: Cus­tomers can pay their mu­nic­i­pal ac­count, in cash, at any of the 50 cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tres city-wide.

Cus­tomers can also go to the city’s web­site for more in­for­ma­tion: www.joburg. org.za

Cus­tomers en­quir­ing about how much they owe or re­quir­ing a copy of their ac­count state­ment can call Joburg Con­nect on 0860 Joburg (562 874).

How­ever, he did not ex­plain how the bill de­creased from R1.9m to R134 000 and then in­creased to R219 000.

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