Joburg mayor gets second court orderComment on this story
Johannesburg - A contempt of court order has been granted against Joburg mayor Parks Tau - the second order that has been granted against him in recent weeks.
Both orders have been ignored by the City of Joburg.
In the most recent incident, the managing agents of a Randburg complex have disputed a municipal bill that states they owe the council more than R2.6 million for electricity.
The managing agents of Castle Hill took the city to the South Gauteng High Court in Joburg in June 2012 when attempts to get the city’s billing department to rectify the account failed.
The court ordered the city to repair or replace the electricity meter, to adjust the accounts and issue a full statement within 15 days.
This was ignored, and in November last year the managing agent, Stuart Fyfe, went back to court for a contempt of court order application, which was granted.
The city was given three months to once again rectify the situation. This was also ignored.
Fyfe said the complex has had billing problems since 2008 and has been trying to resolve the matter with the council, with no success.
The complex was being billed on estimates instead of on its actual consumption.
The problem was identified by an electric forensic auditor as a meter-programming problem.
He confirmed, in the court papers, that the meter had been incorrectly programmed and that the voltage transformer ratio was incorrect, leading to a 51.5 percent discrepancy in usage.
Although the council later replaced the meter, it remained “dysfunctional in that it was still incorrectly programmed”, he said.
In the contempt of court order, Judge AJ Beltramo said it was “manifestly plain the respondents took no steps to negotiate a resolution of the dispute”.
The city argued it could not comply with the initial court order and issue an account because the meter was faulty.
The judge found the city to be in contempt of court and ordered it to pay a fine of R10 000 within 90 days and to issue a correct account, which has not happened.
Fyfe also said the council was responsible for about R500 000 in legal fees.
As head of the city, Tau is ultimately responsible for ensuring the billing department responds to the court order.
The Star reported last week that Tau and his mayoral committee were ordered to pay a fine of R50 000 for contempt of court after the city refused to issue the Hellenic Community with a correct bill.