State organs owe North West municipalities R1.8 billion in unpaid rates, taxes

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Parties in the North West have encouraged municipalities in the province owed by provincial and national departments to take the necessary steps against them.

Opposition parties say municipalities in the province are owed more than R1.8 billion in rates and taxes. Parties insist that the government must pay rates and taxes like other businesses.

According to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the North West Provincial Legislature, national government departments owe municipalities over R872 million, while Provincial departments owe R984 million.

A large chunk of the debt is owed to the Mahikeng Local Municipality, National and Provincial departments owe more than R852 million, while Moses Kotane, City of Matlosana and Madibeng Local municipalities are owed more than R298 million, R175 million and R168 million respectively.

Video: North West municipalities owed more than a billion in rates and taxes
The DA says payment systems in the province have collapsed.

DA Member of the Provincial Legislature Freddy Sepeng says, “We either have the provincial coordinating committee that is useless, because remember the provincial coordinating committee houses all departments and municipalities together. This is where your issues of intergovernmental relations must come in to say the government must be able to pay another government or organ of state.”

“How are you expecting private people to do the same if the government on its own is unable to deal with other organs of state to do the same and start paying. So we believe that this shows that systems have collapsed not only in municipalities but from the top structures,” says Sepeng.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) provincial secretary Papiki Babuile says drastic steps must be taken against departments who don’t pay for services.

Babuile says, “Salga must encourage municipalities to switch off services that they are providing to government departments which are not paying, so that everybody else can learn from government departments. It must not be selective, go to the poorest of the poor and switch off electricity and water because these people do not have means to pay for those services, they rely on the government for survival.”

Meanwhile, the provincial Treasury Department says billing systems of some municipalities are incorrect hence some departments are failing to pay for services.

Video: How local government should handle municipal debt