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Oudtshoorn officials urged to pay their municipal accounts

Oudtshoorn, 23 November 2016 – The acting Municipal manager, Mr. Allen Paulse has given the Oudtshoorn Municipal officials 5 days to settle their municipal accounts, in an internal communication issued to all officials.

“Charity begins at home,” Paulse said, “our officials and councillors must be exemplary to the broader community as responsible public servants and public representatives.”

A financial report ending in October 2016 tabled by the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Felix Lotter before the Executive Mayoral Committee on Wednesday, 23 November 2016, states that the outstanding amounts to R 97. 879 Million. Even though this amount represents a decrease of approximately R 15.017 Million over the debt owed during the same period of the previous financial year, 60% of the outstanding debts have aged beyond 90 days and a concerted effort according to Paulse needs to be exerted to increase the collection of debt.

“You are urgently reminded to settle all outstanding municipal accounts in full, on or before 25th November 2016, to avoid disconnection of municipal services without any further notification,” said Paulse in an internal communication to all officials last week Friday, 18 November.

Quoting Schedule 2, Section 10 of the Municipal Systems Act (Act 32 of 2000), Paulse indicated that ‘a staff member of a municipality may not be in arrears to the municipality for rates and service charges for a period longer than 3 months, and a municipality may deduct any outstanding amounts from a staff member’s salary after this period’.

Paulse also warned officials who reside at premises that benefit from the indigent subsidy on services to cancel the subsidy immediately, as those premises are in breach of sections in the Approved Indigent Policy of Council.

“Such official are afforded a period of five (5) working days after the circulation of this memorandum to rectify such conduct.” He added. “If it is found that an official are still in breach of the indigent policy such official is at risk that disciplinary actions can be instituted as stipulated in the Municipal Code of Conduct for municipal officials as stipulated in Schedule 2, Section 2 of the Municipal System Act (Act 32 of 2000).”

Paulse also issued a stern warning to officials that are residing at premises that are involved with illegal tampering with meter installation of either water and/or electricity. “Those premises are in breach of sections in the Approved Credit Control Debt Collection Policy of Council,” Paulse added. “Such conduct must be reported straightaway to the technical department and the debt collection unit for rectification.”

“I am encouraged by the acting Municipal Managers action towards the officials and councillors,” said the Executive Mayor, Aldm Colan Sylvester. “All debtors, including municipal officials and councillors, who are in arrears are still subjected to credit control measures, failure to collect all debt owed to the Municipality will, with no doubt, lead to further financial distress, prolong the financial recovery and impact negatively on the service delivery,” Mayor Sylvester added.