Durban — The IFP has put forward a motion in the eThekwini Municipality to request that the City engage with the Education (DoE) and Public Works departments’ review the school debt debacle.
An IFP councillor in eThekwini, Jonathan Annipen, said that he engaged with the council in June 2022 to have the exorbitant debt owed by schools to the municipality settled. Annipen is also on the eThekwini Finance Committee.
Annipen said the City had engaged with the DoE and recovered a significant amount of the outstanding debt owed by schools. Annipen recommended to the committee that they should explore the idea of allowing schools to participate in the electricity debt relief programme and pay off their consolidated debt using the 80/20 prepaid electricity meter system.
Annipen said through the system, debt accumulated prior to the installation of the box would be put into the prepaid system and would be paid off with each electricity purchase. He said 80% of the purchase would be used by the school, while 20% would service the debt, interest-free.
At Wednesday’s portfolio committee meeting, it was announced by the head of electricity, Maxwell Mthembu, that schools could now take advantage of the electricity debt relief system and pay off their debt by simply purchasing electricity.
This means that schools which opt for the prepaid electricity system will be billed only for water-related and refuse charges, but will not be charged for electricity. Annipen said this was a step in the right direction in terms of recovery of debt and a clear reminder to residents of the IFP's contributions to the betterment of the city.
“Members of the public are implored to share this message as widely as possible so that as many institutions as possible can benefit from it,” he said.
While on the same subject, the IFP said it was pleased to inform applicants that on Wednesday,, confirmation was received from eThekwini Municipality's head of electricity that 45 000 meters were in stock, and this would assist in addressing the 2 000-plus backlog which was created during the December 2022 to January 2023 period.
In particular, wards in Phoenix, Chatsworth, Merebank, Verulam and Tongaat had benefited immensely from this programme, thanks to the interventions of IFP councillors and party officials in these areas, Annipen added.
“Furthermore, we would like to inform customers that the application for the 80/20 prepaid system continues unabated, as it is now a policy of council and as such, it cannot be made extinct unless a council decision is taken to that effect. We encourage residents who meet the requirements for this programme to take full advantage of it, as it will be beneficial to those who are struggling to settle historical debt with the City,” Annipen said.
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