The eThekwini Municipality is making good progress on outstanding Government debt as efforts are being made to ensure revenue collection targets are met. This is through a joint initiative by KZN MEC for Finance, Ina Cronje and the Municipality. The MEC and eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo recently acknowledged the great work that was done by the task team allocated to this issue.
The Municipality has considerably reduced Government debt to about R539 million with the increasing amount of debt escalating to over a billion rands at one stage. A team was established to concentrate on the recovery of monies. Khanyi Gama, Manager: Credit Control, said, “There are ongoing discussions with affected government departments to collect this money. Meetings are held monthly to resolve and iron out issues and resolve disputes. We have also received monies during the month of April so it brings the figure down.” The government debt figure stood at approximately R800m in 2008/9, which means that the City is slowly collecting the monies owed. Gama said that they are monitoring all debt.” We are monitoring these accounts through a dedicated task team. They monitor all progress and take corrective action.”
The biggest contributors to the outstanding debt are the Ingonyama Trust which controls communal land in KwaZulu-Natal and hostels in and around Durban that had been transferred from the Department of Human Settlements to the Municipality. Ingonyama Trust is still subject to an appeal process and an agreement is in place with the Department of Human Settlements to pay the outstanding amount for the hostels in the year 2012/13. The Municipality is also investigating an amount of R42m.
Peet du Plessis, Head of Revenue said that the Municipality is striving to collect all outstanding funds. “We have a good understanding with these departments and we aim to resolve all the issues and get finality. We are ultimately trying to get all the debt settled.” The Municipality has managed to make inroads by establishing a good working relationship with the respective Government Departments, holding meetings on a monthly basis and will continuously work to build on this achievement in their commitment to increase revenue collection which currently stands at 97%.