Durban - Big businesses in Pietermaritzburg paid R25 million to avoid their services being cut by the Msunduzi Municipality.
The municipality revealed that the unnamed businesses were visited by its officials on Tuesday as part of an aggressive campaign to recover money owed to the municipality for services and rates.
In a statement, the municipality said: “Yesterday, Operation Qoqimali visited big business consumers in a bid to disconnect services due to non payment. Our teams returned with an on-the-spot collection of over R25m.”
The municipality warned businesses not to be taken in by con men pretending to be its employees.
“No, Operation Qoqimali doesn’t deal in cash, no employee of the municipality is allowed to. Electronic payments were done by the businesses.
“The message is clear, do not wait for us to come to your door. Do pay your account on time. Do not invite unnecessary penalties and reconnection fees. Do make payment arrangements and honour them,” it said.
The move comes a day after the municipality revealed that it had collected about R13m in the past few days in payments from businesses that had not honoured payments for rates or services.
The city started the campaign last year, and netted close to R500m. The campaign involves cutting services to residents and businesses that owe for rates, water and electricity.
In a statement on Tuesday, the City said the campaign was continuing to produce results.
“Operation #QoqaMaMillion is on the road today collecting money owed to the municipality by businesses for electricity and water services provided. Businesses have been compliant and are making payments. An amount of just over R13m has been collected today already.”
Last year, The Mercury reported on the campaign. The city was on a drive to collect about R5 billion that is owed for rates and services. It said it was owed about R1.2bn for rates alone.