Unpaid municipal bills will now also be in the cross-hairs of traffic officers checking for driver’s license infringements and outstanding fines at roadblocks of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
That’s according to Tebogo Moraka, chief financial officer for the City of Johannesburg.
The utility bills in question include outstanding payments owed for water, lights and property taxes.
Interviewed by eNCA, Moraka said billions of rands in unpaid rates and taxes are owed to the city.
Municipal officials will be part of roadblock teams this weekend to pilot the new “alert and collection” method.
“This is a strategy to enhance our debt collection processes,” he said.
“JMPD themselves won’t arrest motorists for unpaid rates and taxes, but the city’s revenue team will join certain roadblocks to allow indebted residents to settle their accounts.
“Motorists that have outstanding bills for services outside the specified grace periods will be approached by the revenue team, which will provide them with their statement, explain the situation and assist them with an acknowledgement of debt agreement (AoD), if they agree to do so.”
Moraka reiterated that any motorist owning rates and taxes will not be arrested.
The aim is to bring the collection service to residents for the sake of convenience.
“This is just another contact point for residents,” said Moraka.
He further noted that if there are any unresolved issues with the bills, residents at the roadblocks can also approach the officials to iron out disagreements.
However, Moraka did explain that roadblock points would be used to issue notices to residents who do not agree to an AoD and have outstanding bills for an extended period, that they risk being disconnected by the city.
He said the city is facing a massive debt issue, with it being owed upwards of R47 billion rand in unpaid bills.
They are trying everything they can to recover what is owed, Moraka explained.