Durban - The Provincial Executive Council has noted with concern the escalating debt owed by the government to municipalities around KwaZulu-Natal.
In a statement on Thursday, the Council said that the was now standing at a staggering R1, 7 billion.
“An amount to the tune of R R880-million is owed by provincial departments and state entities such as the Ingonyama Trust Board, KZN Wildlife and others. The Council also notes the disputes raised by departments to incorrect property and billing information. The departments have been instructed to engage directly with municipalities to resolve the discrepancies,” reads the statement.
It said the highest debt was notably in respect of section 21 schools which receive transfers for the payment of services.
In July Ingonyama Trust reportedly owed 23 municipalities - including eThekwini - about R302 million in outstanding rates.
The matter between the two entities has been in court for a couple of years now, with the Trus objecting to the debt.
The Mercury reported in November that Public Works owed eThekwini over R300 million in rates for buildings used by the department around the (eThekwini) region.
“The Department of Education has been advised to engage the school principals and ensure that payment is done. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as well as the Provincial Treasury have been assigned to lead the provincial efforts to resolve this challenge and ensure that municipalities are able to receive the financial resources due to them so that they can remain financially viable and continue to deliver services to our communities,” reads the statement.