Plett chamber chair resigns over unpaid bills ‘vendetta’
PLETTENBERG BAY developer Mike Scholtz has stepped down as chairman of the town’s business chamber, claiming there is a vendetta against him, following reports that his companies allegedly owe Bitou municipality almost R2 million in unpaid municipal bills.
In a letter announcing his resignation, Scholtz said claims by the municipality’s “revenue enhancement office” that he should be billed about R1.86m for services rendered since 2009 revealed “a personal vendetta towards myself by a certain section of our community”.
Scholtz, who has attracted criticism from the DA in the past for openly supporting the ANC while filling the role of “impartial” business leader, said media reports about his debt were “uncalled for, an embarrassment to the true facts”.
The revenue enhancement office was set up by Bitou’s new DA regime to improve debt collection after the party took control of Bitou from the ANC in the May municipal elections.
A memo compiled by the office claimed that Scholtz and a business partner owed about R1m in water, sewerage and electricity augmentation fees charged for connecting their upmarket Fish Eagle Bay townhouse complex to the municipal bulk delivery systems.
A further R680 000 was due for water and electricity consumption, and for sewage and refuse removal services at Fish Eagle Bay since July 2009, because municipal accounts for the complex were never registered, the municipality said.
Bitou also said R97 000 was owed for municipal services rendered since 2009 to another property owned by Scholtz.
Scholtz’s letter of resignation was accompanied by a statement of support by the Plett Business Chamber, sug- gesting that he had entered into negotiations with the municipality in November concerning the R1m augmentation fee.
“… It was made clear detailed information from the engineers would still be required before a reasonable decision could be agreed upon”, and it had been agreed that the issue would be resolved next month, the business chamber said.
The statement conceded that Fish Eagle Bay “could owe council money” for services, but said “the inability of the municipality to issue invoices is regrettable”.
Neither Scholtz nor the business chamber volunteered reasons as to why the municipality had failed to open accounts and invoice him for the money owed, starting in 2009.
A municipal source said earlier that the sizable augmentation charge “somehow got lost” between the technical services engineering department and the department responsible for revenue collection. – Garden Route Media