Plett cham­ber chair re­signs over un­paid bills ‘vendetta’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NEIL OELOFSE

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.