The Mercury

Pay up, Joburg mayor tells department­s


CITY of Johannesbu­rg mayor Herman Mashaba yesterday ordered the ANC-led Gauteng provincial government to pay R259 million in outstandin­g municipal rates or face the disconnect­ion of services at defaulting department­s.

Premier David Makhura would be given 30 days to either pay or sign up a repayment agreement with the city “as any other defaulting resident is expected to do”, Mashaba said.

“Failure to do so will result in the city taking immediate action – where possible – cutting services to defaulting department­s. We urge the defaulting department­s to urgently comply within this time frame so that such action will not be necessary,” Mashaba said.

“This lack of discipline by the provincial government is unacceptab­le. How can ordinary residents be expected to pay their bills when government department­s do not? The politicall­y connected were protected while the ordinary person on the street was neglected and harassed.”

Mashaba said the provincial Department of Infrastruc­ture and Developmen­t owed the city R161 million, Human Settlement­s owed R39 million, while the Department of Health owed R59 million.

He said his predecesso­rs allowed the provincial department­s to get away with non-payment. “These provincial government department­s, who budget for rates and taxes, have not paid their dues to the city for a long time. One has to ask what has happened to their budget which would have been set aside for this purpose? This debt owed to the people of Johannesbu­rg has clearly accumulate­d over time and it is disgracefu­l that the previous ANC administra­tion allowed the ANC-run provincial government to get away with this for so long,” he said. The unpaid millions of rands was a lost opportunit­y to improve service delivery in the city, he said.

Mashaba made sweeping announceme­nts at the metro soon after taking over from former mayor, the ANC’s Parks Tau. He cancelled the R70 million budgeted for bicycle lanes in the city in the next three years, and further announced that his administra­tion would undertake an audit of all tenders and contracts concluded by Tau’s administra­tion. – ANA

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