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Parks Tau: Mashaba destabilising billing system

In 2015, Tau publically claimed that he had managed to reduce the inflated municipal billing problem to almost 1% after the crisis plagued residents for years.

FILE: Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Louise McAuliffe/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Former Joburg Mayor Parks Tau has criticised his successor Herman Mashaba accusing him of creating another billing crisis after he spent years trying to resolve it.

In 2015, Tau publically claimed that he had managed to reduce the inflated municipal billing problem to almost 1% after the crisis plagued residents for years.

Recently, Mashaba vowed to take personal charge of the matter after in May Joburg Finance MMC Rabelani Dagada said the city’s billing had reached another crisis level.

Tau says the Democratic Alliance (DA) is responsible for the new billing crisis after taking over the municipality a year ago and must take full responsibility.

“They introduced systems such as regionalization and the effect has been people getting double bills. They have simply destabilised the system.”

But Mashaba says the DA inherited the billing crisis from the African National Congress.

“If you talk to any resident of Johannesburg, I can show you my statements of over the last 10 to 15 years, how messy our billing situation was.”

During his time in office, Tau appointed Advocate Sdu Gumede to head up a new ombudsman position in the city to deal with among others the billing problems.

But in May, Mashaba suspended Gumede with pay over allegations of maladministration.

MASHABA APOLOGISES

Earlier this week, Mashaba said all residents whose accounts are in arrears due to a problem with the city’s billing system will have the interest charged on their accounts wiped off.

Mashaba said this is specifically for residents who have been in good standing with the city prior to February this year.

There have been complaints for years now about exorbitant bills.

Mashaba apologised to residents.

“We’re committing to this. The people will see this in their September statements that any interest charged to our paying residents, the interest will be reversed.”

Mashaba has vowed to alleviate the suffering that residents have had to endure as a result of the crisis.

He said a lot of work will need to be done but his team will work tirelessly to solve the problem.

“I think I had no choice. If residents of the city remember well, during the entire duration, the entire period of my campaign, billing was a huge challenge and we need to do something about this billing. It is a crisis and now I’ve taken it over myself with the MMC of Finance.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)