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Durban - The eThekwini Municipality is owed millions by businesses and government departments that have not paid for rates and services.

A budget statement report for the last financial year tabled before the finance and procurement committee meeting last week put the government debt at R515 million at the end of July.

Of this debt, R144m has been outstanding for more than 90 days.

City treasurer Krish Kumar said in the report that properties owned by the Ingonyama Trust made up 55 percent of the R144m.

The provincial Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs was trying to collect the outstanding amount from the trust, he said.

“Of the R515m, R319m relates to rates raised for the new financial year.

“All rates and assessments have been hand-delivered to the departments paying rates,” he said.

Kumar said all the departments had been given until October 31 to settle the rates for all confirmed accounts.

Business debt was R349.9m and, according to the report, subject to litigation.

Regarding parastatals, Kumar said the only issue was with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Transnet.

He said the municipality had even invoked section 44 of the Municipal Finance Management Act and sent letters to the Treasury to intervene.

Although Transnet paid R109m in June, at the end of July it still owed more than R507m.

Prasa owed more than R106m and, according to the report, a meeting would be arranged with its chief financial officer on payment plans.

The deputy head of expenditure, Sandile Mnguni, said provision for bad debts this financial year was R2 billion against R1.98bn for 2013.

Despite this debt, the city had achieved an average collection rate of a 100.46 at the end of July.

The Mercury