eThekwini Municipality. File photo.
Durban - Are you unable to pay your account because your financial circumstances have changed? Then let eThekwini Municipality know about it and pay what you can afford.

Since the Municipal Act was amended in August, the city is compelled to allow struggling ratepayers to make payment arrangements. 

Previously, the municipality would discontinue services after non-payment without consultation with the customer. 

The city’s chief financial officer, Krish Kumar, said the amendment would help the municipality with revenue collection and give a better indication of who could or couldn’t pay.

“In fact, we have always been open for arrangements with customers who cannot manage their accounts, but now it can be done formally.  If a resident or business account is in arrears or is badly managed, instead of heading to court we now have a solution if the customer is willing to consent to judgment,” he said.

Kumar said there were a number of unsettled accounts, which hampered the city’s revenue flow.  He said any resident or business could enter into a payment arrangement, regardless of where they lived or operated – provided all the relevant details were supplied. The municipality would require proof of income and expenditure. 

The head of the revenue management unit, Peet du Plessis, said two forms had been designed, the financial affordability, and financial affordability affidavit forms. 

The first would be filled in by a customer who had proof of income, while the affidavit would be completed if the customer did not.  The forms would be available at all municipal offices or could be downloaded. 

“The city is aware that a customer may not singularly meet the required monthly instalments and therefore, in these instances, will accept joint household income and/or a surety.  It is vital that these forms are filled in accurately and attached to the agreement, or it will be difficult for the municipality to assess affordability.  Customers are also cautioned that any deliberate false information would constitute fraud,” Du Plessis said. 

The amendments are expected to be implemented next year. 

Sunday Tribune