The South African Local Government Association says they will be switching off water and electricity at Government Departments.

Salga says Government Departments owe them R10 billion nationwide. They have singled out the Department of Public Works as the worst offender.

Salga President Thembi Nkadimeng says they have started with this in Polokwane where Government Departments owe the municipality R144 million rand.

She has warned that businesses will be next.

“We are going to do that and we are encouraging our municipalities to start switching off government departments, get money and service Eskom. How unfair is it that a granny takes a portion of her pension and pay and what does Eskom do because they can’t differentiate between a paying household and a non-paying business? They are going switch everybody off.”

Households, government and businesses owe municipalities R165 billion. Municipalities’ debts for water and electricity amounts to R39 billion.

Salga says this is why municipalities have been struggling to pay both Eskom and Rand Water.

Salga President Thembi Nkadimeng says they will look into ways of compelling consumers to pay. She has also called on government who owes 10 billion rand and businesses who owes 24 billion rand to pay their municipal bills.

“But we are also going to support as Salga municipalities in their endeavours to collect. It’s not an easy assignment. Municipalities walk into townships and want to disconnect, the lives of councillors become in danger. Their houses are burnt down. Our service providers are terrorised. So, it becomes difficult to start the process, but we need a holistic message for the nation to say we need to be paying municipalities.”