Gauteng and NW Province

Does municipality play ball?

Rustenburg Herald
11 May 2012

Rustenburg tax payers and consumers have been receiving final demand notices in thousands from a company claiming to represent Rustenburg Local Municipality. They further claim to be enforcing the Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy and By-law of the municipality.

Munsolve CC has been trying for months to obtain the Council approved Credit Control and Debt Collection policy in force and the promulgated by-law, without any success.

Although it is a requirement that these be placed on the official website of the municipality, it is not on the website of the municipality.
There is existing case law that prohibits a municipality to enforce its credit control and debt collection policy unless it has been authorized through a promulgated by-law. It is therefore Munsolve’s view that, in the absence of a promulgated credit control and debt collection by-law, the actions taken by the municipality may be open for successful attack in a Court of Law.

There are ratepayers that submitted affidavits to Munsolve stating that they did not receive prior notice of disconnecting of electricity or restriction of water, but that the service provider to the municipality pitched up at the house, delivered the notice, and immediately disconnected / restricted the supply. It is with great concern that we notice the approach recently embarked upon by Rustenburg Local Municipality by restricting water supply or disconnecting electricity supply without prior notice.

By simultaneously giving notice and cutting/restricting supply, the ratepayer/consumer is denied the right to approach the municipality to prevent disconnection/restriction.

The restriction or disconnection of water and electricity supply without prior notice is, based on my interpretation of the Constitutional Court ruling, unlawful and it is our view that ratepayers and consumers will successfully defend such action in a Court of Law.

Munsolve is positive towards credit control and debt collection. The lack of efficient implementation in the past, as demonstrated in the reports serving before Council disclosing very low payment ratio’s for some areas and further disclosing R1,5billion (as per mid-term budget report on website) owed to the municipality, is proof of insufficient control and collection in the past.

Frans Rootman, Munsolve CC

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