The City of Johannesburg failed to collect about R300m in service charges in the first quarter of the 2010-2011 financial year, and officials have blamed Project Phakama for the bungle.
This comes barely a day after Amos Masondo, mayor of the biggest and richest municipality in the country, denied that the city was in the throes of a revenue collection and billing crisis.
Council documents reveal that for the period July to September last year, the city’s revenue and collections department failed to collect about R300-million in service charges owed to City Power, Pikitup and Joburg Water.
Now the city’s infrastructure and services oversight committee has asked the revenue and customer relations management department to provide it with a report on the “status-revenue collection, billing and related matters contributing to the decline in collections” in the three entities.
The report must also provide a “turnaround strategy devised to specifically correct the situation with regard to revenue collection and customer services”.
The committee has also recommended that the infrastructure and services department “must devise high-level interventions aimed at ensuring that billing information is provided to Pikitup, Joburg Water and City Power”.
Of Joburg Water, the documents, circulated in a council meeting held at the council chambers yesterday, said revenue for the quarter was R84-million below budget.
“It was reported that revenue collection had an adverse variance of 8.7%. This was attributed to the roll-out of Project Phakama.”
Of Pikitup, it was reported that “like other entities, Pikitup also collected less than expected revenue because of billing challenges linked to Project Phakama.
“It is reported that the overall operating revenue collected amounted to R262-million against the target of R288-million, resulting in a negative variance of R26-million.”
The same was reported of City Power. “Above all, the entity reported low collection levels with revenue on service charges being below budget by R189-million because of billing challenges.”
At the council meeting Democratic Alliance councillors took a swipe at Masondo, asking him to stop pretending there was no crisis. At a media conference on Wednesday, Masondo denied there was crisis.
Furious residents last week staged a sit-in at the municipal offices in Braamfontein, protesting against the chaos.
Also read what one of Mobilitate’s users has to say about the chaos at the land transfers department.
Credit to: Sipho Masono from Times Live
Read related stories on Mobilitate News: