Bitou in row over R2m owed by developer since 2009
PLETTENBERG Bay Business Chamber chairman Mike Scholtz has been asked to pay almost R2 million his development companies allegedly owe Bitou municipality for services dating back to 2009.
In a memorandum to Bitou chief financial officer Deon Lott, the municipality’s “revenue enhancement office” said Scholtz should be billed around R1,86m for services rendered.
Bitou claims that more than R1m of the bill is due for water, sewerage and electricity augmentation fees charged for connecting the upmarket Fish Eagle Bay townhouse complex – developed by Scholtz and a partner – to the municipal systems.
The revenue enhancement office said the fees should have been paid in 2009, when the 20unit development on the banks of the Keurbooms River was hooked up to the municipality’s bulk services structures.
A municipal source, who asked to remain anonymous, said the augmentation charge apparently “somehow got lost” between the technical services engineering department and the department responsible for revenue collection.
Bitou also says a number of Fish Eagle Bay townhouses have been consuming water and electricity and benefiting from sewerage and refuse removal services since July 2009 without paying for them, so that the municipality is owed about another R680 000.
“After comparing the services for this sectional scheme to the municipal financial system it was found there is no body corporate account in place,” the memo said.
Water and electricity meters were installed in the units by the developers, but never registered with the municipality.
The Fish Eagle Bay housing units were initially put on the market at about R4m each, but a number sold for about R3m, while almost half remain unsold and still belong to Scholtz and his partner.
According to the memo, municipal officials met Scholtz at the end of November. “He could not confirm who was responsible for the electricity and water connections for Fish Eagle Bay and whether an application was completed or connection fees paid. Mr Scholtz was informed that all the service fees will be charged to a new body corporate account for Fish Eagle Bay…”
Bitou claims that a further R97 000 is owed since 2009 for municipal services to another property owned by Scholtz, which includes his residence, a restaurant and four flats.
Although Scholtz did not respond to a message left by the Weekend Argus inviting him to comment, he met municipal officials again this week, when he disputed the amounts owed. – Garden Route Media