Mayor Mashaba gives Gauteng departments ultimatum
The City of Johannesburg has given the Gauteng Provincial Government an ultimatum to pay more than R259-million in outstanding debt for rates and taxes or face the discontinuation of services.
Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba will today write to Gauteng Premier David Makhura giving his government 30 days to either pay the outstanding amount, enter into an acceptable repayment agreement with the City, or face having services cut.
“Following an investigation, I can reveal that Gauteng government departments owe the City of Johannesburg R259-million in outstanding rates and taxes. Today I will write to the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura, giving his government 30 days to either pay the R259-million or enter into an acceptable repayment agreement with the City, as any other defaulting resident would do. Failure to do so will result in the City taking immediate action, where possible cutting services. We urge the defaulting departments to urgently comply within this timeframe so that such action will not be necessary,” Mayor Mashaba said.
He said this “lack of discipline” by the provincial government was unacceptable. “How can ordinary residents be expected to pay their bills when government departments do not?” he asked.
The departments that owe the City outstanding rates and taxes are Infrastructure and Development (R161-million), Human Settlements (R39-million) and Health (R59-million).
“These provincial government departments, which 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 budgets, which would have been set aside for this purpose?”
“It is disgraceful that the previous ANC-led administration allowed the ANC-run provincial government to get away with this for so long,” Mayor Mashaba said.
He said this amounted to hundreds of millions of rand worth of lost opportunities to improve service delivery in the city, especially in poor communities.
“Shamefully, the previous ANC administration in our city led a campaign of harassing ordinary residents for outstanding rates payments. In some cases services were cut off, while the City allowed its own party’s office bearers in the provincial government to get away with stealing from the residents of this city,” he said.