Nothing for mahhala in Ilembe

Ilembe mayor Sduduzo Gumede (right) discussing unpaid bills with Mandeni resident Maxwell Mayise, Ilembe municipal manager Geoffrey Kumalo and Ilembe water service operation Xolelwa Mazibuko.

Mandeni residents owe Ilembe district municipality about R22 million for water and sanitation and Mandeni municipality about R160 million in unpaid municipal rates.

This was revealed during a three day ‘revenue enhancement’ campaign led by Ilembe mayor Sduduzo Gumede and Mandeni mayor Siphesihle Zulu from July 12 to 15.

They went door to door encouraging residents to pay for municipal services.

This was followed by a community meeting held at Sibusisiwe Hall on Sunday.

Mandeni resident Bongani Hlabisa, councillor Happy Ngcobo and Ilembe water service operation Xolelwa Mazibuko checking Hlabisa’s water meter.

The campaign focused on wards seven, 13, 14 and 15 in Sundumbili Township, where some residents owe as much as R50 000.

“In 2015 we were owed about R80 million and we cancelled that debt and started afresh. We see now that people are still not paying. So we felt it was important to explain why it is important to pay for municipal services,” said Gumede.

Also read: Planning for Ilembe’s future

The district mayor said the issue of non-payment was a big problem in this district because consumers had formed a culture of non-payment.

The campaign is part of the KZN Department of Cooperative Governance’s (COGTA) ongoing revenue enhancement campaign themed “Pay Your Levies – Nothing for Mahhala.”

When KZN MEC for COGTA Nomusa Dube-Ncube visited KwaDukuza in May she revealed that Ilembe district municipality was owed R250 million in unpaid municipal bills by businesses and government departments.

Ilembe water service operation Xolelwa Mazibuko checking a blocked drain at Nomusa Manzini’s house.

“This money can help a lot in terms of service delivery,” said Gumede.

At the community meeting, Zulu said even though they receive grants from the national and provincial government, a huge percentage of the money required to run the municipality is the money from ratepayers.

“We have a huge task as government to encourage the community to pay. This campaign is not just about urging people to pay, we also had the opportunity to listen to their concerns through the door-to-door visits,” said Zulu.

Mandeni resident Bongani Hlabisa said the visit by the local authorities to his house was a wake-up call.

“To be honest I did not take my water sanitation bill seriously but now that I know about the importance of paying my bills. I will definitely pay off my debt,” said Hlabisa.

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  AUTHOR
Sboniso Dlamini
Journalist

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