Pay or we cut: No tolerance for late payers – Municipality

Knysna Municipality is preparing to act against debtors who are in arrears on their municipal accounts. “These will include residential customers, businesses and government departments,” said Councillor Sharon Sabbagh, member of the town’s Mayoral Committee for Finance and Economy.

The municipality’s current Debtors book reflects outstanding debt (in 90 days or more) of just shy of R276million. These include organs of state (R3.322m), businesses (R80.77m) and domestic ratepayers (R191.883m).

“The municipality has been far too lenient in the past regarding unpaid accounts, but this is about to change,” she said. “We will initially focus on accounts in arrears of R5 000 or more. These account holders can expect to be contacted to arrange payment. But be warned: should their accounts not be settled, they will face the consequences as per the municipality’s approved credit control policy. We also urge those who are in arrears of lesser amounts to please settle their accounts and implore all customers to start paying their municipal account on a monthly basis. We acknowledge that billing errors may occur and ask that customers who have disputes on their accounts lodge these so their accounts can be corrected and updated.”

“Municipal rates, tariffs and taxes exist to enable municipalities to deliver basic services to their residents, services that are directly compromised due to unpaid accounts. It’s easy to blame an institution for the seemingly poor delivery of services but, in most cases, this is not due to incompetence, but to the lack of funds,” Sabbagh explained. “This is often directly related to our customers not paying us.”

“Keep in mind that we are essentially running a business. We must pay staff and service providers, and purchase and maintain equipment that allows us to deliver basic services. No private business will allow its customers to accrue millions of Rands of debt, and neither will we.”

“I take the liberty of thanking those residents who settle their accounts on time and in full. We appreciate your diligence and your efforts in working with us to create and maintain an inclusive, innovate and inspired Knysna.” she concluded.

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