A number of businesses, state-owned enterprises, and government departments are now currently running in the dark after the City of Tshwane disconnected utilities such as electricity and water due to nonpayment.
The mayor of Tshwane, Randall Williams, took a team on an aggressive campaign to cut off water and electricity to indebted customers. The City is owed a more than R17 billion by its clients, including residents and is now fed up of being considerate.
He said, “The city’s debtors’ book is standing at over R17bn. This figure includes R1.3bn owed by government departments and embassies, R4bn owed by businesses within Tshwane, and R8bn by residential customers.”
Unpaid energy bills amount to at least R360 million owed to the City of Tshwane by the Departments of Higher Education and Training, Infrastructure Development, Public Works, and Water and Sanitation. Other entities, such as Denel, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), and the Commercial Crimes Court, are also in the red by tens of millions of rands.
Businesses that owe Tshwane money include The Sheraton Hotel and Forest City Mall, which paid R4 million to avert being disconnected.
“We mean business! Sheraton Hotel in the dark. Make arrangements to pay your account before you find yourself in the dark. Sheraton Hotel is owing us R23 million,” the city said on Twitter.
In the meantime, the Department of Water and Sanitation confirmed that its power was cut off on Wednesday, but that everything is back to normal.
The department spokesperson Sputnik Ratau said, “The Department is in consultation with the Department of Public Works to ensure that power is reconnected urgently. We wish to assure the public that no services have been disrupted by the disconnection. This matter must be resolved urgently between Public Works and the City of Tshwane.”