SA’s metropolitan municipalities are owed R46.1bn by consumers as at June 30 2012‚ the national Treasury says in a report released on Friday.

The R46.1bn represents an increase of R7.5bn‚ or 19.3%‚ from the fourth quarter of the 2010/11 financial year.

The Treasury released the local government’s revenue and expenditure report for the fourth quarter of the 2011/12 financial year on Friday. The publication covers 276 municipalities.

Treasury said that when compared to the previous financial year‚ Mangaung’s debt had increased by 37.6%‚ City of Tshwane’s by 34.5%‚ while the City of Joburg’s increased 26%.

Treasury noted that the affordability of municipal services was among factors impacting on municipalities’ ability to collect revenue.

“The ongoing economic slowdown and substantial increases in electricity tariffs are starting to impact on affordability and subsequently the ability of consumers to pay for services‚” Treasury said.

The report showed that secondary cities were owed R13.2bn in outstanding consumer debt as at June 30‚ representing a decrease of R346 million from the corresponding period in the 2010/11 financial year.

Analysis of the outstanding debtors per customer group indicates that outstanding household debt accounts for R9.4bn‚ or 71.5%‚ of the total outstanding debt.

Municipalities were owed R15.9bn as at June 30‚ an overall increase of R4.8bn compared to the R11.1bn reported in the third quarter of 2011/12.

Free State had the highest percentage of creditors outstanding for more than 90 days at 55.4%‚ followed by Limpopo at 53.1%‚ and North West at 50.6%.

“A rise in outstanding creditors‚ especially those in excess of 90 days‚ could be indicative of a cash and liquidity challenges‚” the Treasury said in the report. - I-Net Bridge