The City of Joburg has taken stringent measures to recover outstanding municipal debts, collecting a total of R13.2 million from its councillors and permanent employees who had fallen into arrears.
As of July 31, 2023, and in a determined effort to recover the debt, the City deducted over R7 million directly from the salaries of those councillors and employees lagging behind on their municipal bill payments.
Additionally, R5.2 million was collected through direct payments made by the councillors and employees.
This move underscores the City's commitment to collecting what's owed, even if it means targeting its own workforce.
The City, in a statement said it was rigorously applying relevant legislations and its Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy to retrieve the outstanding amounts.
The breakdown reveals that out of the 13,323 employees in debt to the City, 140 are councillors and 13,183 are staff members.
Councillors owe approximately R3.1 million for overdue municipal services.
Meanwhile, the management, encompassing roles such as chief executives, department heads, directors, and supervisors, owe a staggering R9.8 million.
The remaining R76.3 million is attributed to junior staff members.
Kgamanyane Maphologela, the Director of Customer Communications for the City’s Group Finance Department, emphasised the City's stance.
"The credit control action against our own employees demonstrates our resolve to pursue anyone with unpaid municipal bills. Our Credit Control policy is enforced indiscriminately, even against our employees, who should ideally be setting an example," Maphologela said..
He further revealed that many of the indebted staff have since made payment arrangements with the City.
Maphologela highlighted the City's adherence to the Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000, which mandates that a municipal staff member cannot be in arrears for more than three months.
The Act permits the municipality to deduct outstanding amounts from an employee's salary after this period.
"The City is doing everything possible to recover municipal debt, as it significantly affects service delivery," Maphologela added.
He issued a warning that in the upcoming weeks, the City plans to ramp up its Credit Control drive across Johannesburg to collect outstanding revenue from all property owners.
Maphologela urged property owners facing difficulties in settling their accounts to engage with the City proactively and consider signing an acknowledgement of debt to avoid service interruptions.