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The City of Tshwane has made it’s intention clear about not continuing to subsidize its debtors in commercial, government, and residential properties at the price of services and financial health. Tshwane mayor Randall Williams engaged in a back-and-forth with Pascal Fouquet, the manager of the Sheraton Hotel, while the city turned off water and electricity of several businesses that had not paid their bills.

Business and government departments, according to Williams, should not be making erratic payments while continuing to consume more than they pay on a monthly basis. Williams and Acting City Manager Mmaseabata Mutlaneng spearheaded a concerted effort to cut off water and electricity to businesses and government agencies. As business managers pleaded with him to let them keep the lights on,

Williams pushed back, claiming that Tshwane’s culture of non-payment had created an unsustainable situation and a mounting debt of R17 billion owed to the city. Williams said he was acting on behalf of the City and its people, who needed service delivery, and asked for forgiveness for the hotel, which owed the City R23 million in water, electricity, and rates. According to Fouquet: “Because of Covid-19, we haven’t made any money for the past two years. We tried to work out a deal with the city, but we can’t afford to pay what they demand.

What happens if you do this to folks who are in desperate need of work?”. Corporations and municipalities around the world have been affected by Covid-19, according to Williams but they have changed and found new ways to run their operations.

“We are compelled, in terms of municipal legislation, to recover money due to the City, More over R5 billion is owed to us by City businesses. Residents owe almost R8 billion, while government departments and embassies owe us more than R1.3 billion. We’re going after all of our debtors because they owe us money. You can’t get something for nothing” said Williams.

“There is a financial crisis in the city. We need to collect all of the funds. As you can see, service quality is deteriorating. We don’t have as much money to fix street lights as we used to. There is less money available to repair potholes. This must be changed.” Concluded the Mayor.

By: Palesa Maneli.

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