Durban - Msunduzi Municipality is considering establishing a crack squad to deal with meter readings and conduct disconnections on defaulting customers.
The move was discussed by Executive Committee members at a meeting last week, where the city’s financial state came under the spotlight.
Msunduzi deputy mayor Mxolisi Mkhize noted how the City was battling as a number of customers were not paying for services, despite evidence that they could afford them.
He added that this required the KwaZulu-Natal capital to employ tougher measures as a way of collecting debt, noting that the municipality’s efforts to collect revenue had been met with resistance in some communities.
“There needs to be a crack squad that will deal with this because the City cannot afford to buy water and electricity and have people not paying,” said Mkhize. He stressed that for the municipality to be financially sustainable customers needed to pay for services rendered by it.
Another Exco member Bongumusa Nhlabathi agreed with the idea of a squad that would be tough on customers who were refusing to pay.
“This is something that we have been saying for a long time, that more than half of the customers who can afford to pay for our services are not doing so, and this results in the City not generating enough revenue,” said Nhlabathi.
Msunduzi City Manager Lulamile Mapholoba said the City’s leadership was considering other ways of improving revenue collection. He added that they had made inroads through Operation Qoqimali, which is a multi-pronged effort that targets defaulting customers.
“I would give the operation a 60% rating, which means that there is room for improvement, and that is why we are looking at a number of case studies on how we can improve,” he said.
He cited a number of cities which the management was looking at, including eThekwini Metro and the City of Cape Town, regarding revenue collection models.