These include businesses, government departments and residents. The biggest debtor is said to be Tansnat Africa which runs the city buses. The company belongs to the Gcaba brothers.
The DA says Tansnat Africa has been on a month to month lease for 10 years with the municipality which is unconstitutional. In 2016 the council took a decision to take back the buses and run the bus system as a municipal entity but the decision has not been enacted.
The party’s caucus leader in the eThekwini municipality council, Nicole Graham says, “The city is owed over R11 billion in debt and a lot of those key debtors are government actors. We see that the government departments owe the city over a billion rand, key debtor Tansnat owes that city millions and the Ingonyama Trust also owes the city a significant amount. I think it’s time the city acts especially with the new leadership decisively against these debtors. We can’t continue to cut off ordinary people who owe the city for their water and lights bills and allow those who are politically connected and influential to get away with it. I think we’ve been told for too long that these matters are being dealt with. It’s clear they are not.”
Meanwhile the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal says they were only made aware about this issue following the change of leadership in the eThekwini municipality.
The ANC’s provincial Secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli says they want the city to be in a capacity to provide services to the people without depending on the private sector.
“It’s ideal that every service that is critical to the people of KZN must be provided by the state itself including transportation whenever opportunities come including the capacity. We got a report about it on the eve of the changes we made on the leadership of the municipality. We were are aware that there were some developments around the debts that being owed but we also advise that at that stage there was a connotation between the city and the service provider as to what really is the amount of money owed by one to the other,” says Ntuli.