Freedom Front Plus
Freedom Front Plus

FF Plus wins victory for residents regarding erroneous accounts

The FF Plus won a victory on behalf of the community of the Ngwathe Municipality (Parys, Heilbron, Vredefort, Edenville and Koppies). The Public Protector (PP) decided in favour of the residents in a dispute over disproportionate municipal accounts and the municipality must now write off the said accounts.

The FF Plus asked the PP to launch an investigation into erroneous accounts amounting to thousands of rands as the meters were not checked regularly and the readings were not recorded correctly on the one hand and on the other, the municipality made mistakes with its calculations of the accounts.

"Residents received bills for R116 066,85 (for electricity use), R57 994,82 (for water use) and R29 506,04 (for electricity use) respectively," said Philip van der Merwe, FF Plus councillor in Ngwathe.

The PP decided in favour of the residents after the FF Plus pointed out that there are gross mistakes on the accounts that were not addressed by Ngwathe’s Chief Financial Officer.

 The municipality issued these accounts despite a council decision, which was taken in June 2016, that all municipal service fees that are more than three years in arrears, must be written off.

"The money was either not written off or it was incorrectly noted on these accounts," Van der Merwe sad in a statement.

The FF Plus took these accounts to the PP who, after her investigation, found and confirmed that the municipality was negligent in issuing accounts. For quite some time, readings for water and electricity use were simply not taken.

Furthermore, she also found that in some cases repaying the debt was the responsibility of the Department of Public Works, from whom the resident rented the house.

"The PP found and advised that the outstanding debt of the residents in question must be written off.

"Poor financial management and incompetent officials are the main reasons for the losses that the municipality may suffer as a result.  The poor management that landed the municipality in this financial crisis can no longer be tolerated.

"The PP’s decision is a victory for the consumers and residents of Ngwathe, but at the same time it dooms the ANC-governed municipality and officials who are supposed to do their financial and service delivery duties properly, which include regularly issuing correct accounts," Van der Merwe said.



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