R6m to help pensioners pay rates

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iol pic busrep pensioners ss Legislature Independent Newspapers MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy. Picture: Paballo Thekiso

Johannesburg -

An amount of R6 million has been set aside to assist all provincial municipalities to set up a register of pensioners to assist them to pay their rates and services.

This was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Finance Barbara Creecy when she tabled her provincial Treasury budget vote in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature on Friday.

Creecy told the legislature that the funding was aimed at ensuring municipalities were achieving financial stability.

Detailing her targeted areas of achievement, Creecy said: “The first is to support municipalities to develop better data bases of those who need exemption from municipal tariffs. The Gauteng provincial Treasury will assist municipalities with the data-cleansing exercise to ensure that the indigent register is reflective of those who cannot pay for services.

“We will work with our counterparts in the department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs to help fast-track the process of collecting household debt owed to municipalities from those who are not classified as indigent.

“We will look at how we can help municipalities to protect their revenue with a view to reduce debt from accumulating.”

She also said she would ensure all provincial government departments paid their monthly bills for water and electricity usage to the different municipalities on time. She admitted that her portfolio - Finance Department - had in the past defaulted on payment.

“Good financial management like everything else has to start at home. In this financial year, we have set aside R6 million for hands-on support to municipalities in the area of financial management,” Creecy said.

She also emphasised the need for the government to increase the provincial revenue collection. She said over the past five years, the provincial government had increased its revenue collection to R4 billion.

“The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has been the leading department in terms of revenue collection over the period. In 2009/10 financial year, the department collection R1.540 billion and this grew to R2.707 billion in 2013/14 financial year, representing an increase of R1.167 billion,” she said.

Creecy said the government department would continue collecting revenue provided they adhered to stricter financial controls.

- Saturday Star

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