The City of Cape Town said today it was in the process of restricting water supply and cutting off electricity to thousands of residents who had failed to pay their bills. It said since 330 000 final demands (or "pink letters", as they are popularly known) were sent out to non-payers between October and December last year, no fewer than 132 000 residents had come to the Council's offices to settle their outstanding accounts or make arrangements to pay them off. Of these, 3 238 had already reneged on the arrangement.
Derek Harris, Director: Revenue, said: "The City has no option, under existing legislation, but to take serious steps against defaulters, restricting water supply in the case of residential properties, and cutting off water supply and electricity in the case of businesses. These disconnections are being made at the rate of 500 a day".
Following the disconnections, the City would hand defaulters over to its attorneys for collection of the outstanding money. Defaulters would be liable for legal costs and disconnection and reconnection fees. No further reminders would be issued.
In many cases, people who were not in arrears last year, were now, and the same action would be taken against them.
The City said its total arrears bill stood at R3.509 billion as at the end of February. The biggest chunk of this - R2.6 billion - was owed by residential property owners.
It said its 12-month moving average collection ratio stood at 98.33%, while the 6-month collection ratio, ending February, was 107%. This showed that the City was making inroads in arrears collections.
The City also thanked those residents who had come forward and stuck to their repayments agreements.
On another note, the City said approximately 4 000 people had come forward to register on its indigent register. However, it believed this figure was too low and said people should not be "afraid or ashamed" to register for indigent relief where necessary. The City would assist such people, "no matter how large their debts might be".
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City of Cape Town
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