The write-off of the debt will be done on the condition that the residents affected begin paying for the monthly levies for municipal services provided to them by the city, said Solly Msimanga (above). File picture: Masi Losi/ANA

Johannesburg - The multi-party council running Tshwane municipality under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance party said on Monday it was writing off nearly R400 million in irrecoverable debt owed by the poor.

DA Mayor Solly Msimanga said the move was in line with his commitment after assuming office to address the plight of poor residents and stabilise the finances of Tshwane, which incorporates South Africa's capital Pretoria.

"This administration has, as at the last meeting of council, agreed to write off R371 140 786.13 in irrecoverable debt for the indigent residents across the city of Tshwane who continue to suffer under the weight of being unable to afford their municipal accounts," he said.

The write-offs included unpaid bills for electricity, property rates, sanitation, waste management, as well as interest and value added tax, Msimanga said.

This was in addition to the R754 million deemed irrecoverable debt that the council had elected to hold in abeyance for a period of 12 months pending possible write-off.

"The write-off of the debt will be done on the condition that the residents affected begin paying for the monthly levies for municipal services provided to them by the city," said Msimanga.

"This is designed to encourage the residents ... to take responsibility and start being conscientious rate payers while also rehabilitating the debtor book."

He said 50 percent of the debt would be written off if the residents paid their current account in full for a period of 6 months and the other 50 percent if  payment was received in full for another 6 months.

African News Agency/ANA