Pretoria businesses owing combined R4.7m permanently removed off the grid

The Tshwane metro says it further issued the businesses with R172 000 fines each for illegal electricity reconnections after they were disconnected.

 City officials disconnecting water and electricity to defaulting accounts in the Tshwane metro. Photo: File

The Tshwane metro has disconnected four businesses in the east of Pretoria that owed a combined R4.7m in rates and taxes.

The municipality permanently removed them from the grid for illegally reconnecting and fined them R172 500 each.

The businesses were among 15 customers permanently removed by the municipality during the metro’s aggressive #TshwaneYaTima revenue collection campaign, which resumed on June 22.

Metro spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the businesses were permanently disconnected after they were found to have illegally reconnected electricity after being disconnected by the municipality for non-payment.

“The metro’s technicians have begun a practice of regularly inspecting all the meters that had been disconnected after realising a criminal pattern by some unscrupulous customers that illegally reconnected their electricity immediately after being disconnected.

“This practice has resulted in the city embarking on a series of rip disconnections – aimed at discouraging customers from tampering with our infrastructure,” Bokaba said.

Bokaba said the metro would only reconnect the properties only when the fines are paid off and the customers enter into a payment arrangement to settle bills.

He said the municipality officials were escorted by the TMPD when they disconnected electricity after the officials were threatened by residents.

“Tshwane metro aims to collect about R17bn owed by government departments, embassies, businesses, entities and residential customers,” Bokaba said.

The municipality was recently in trouble with Eskom due to its unpaid R878m debt. Bokaba said the metro had financial problems due to low revenue collection caused by non-payments from residents for services.

“We are anticipating an improved level of collection in the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year and beyond,” Bokaba said.

“It’s important that our customers pay their accounts in full and on time to enable us to pay our creditors like Eskom and others,” Bokaba said.

List of the Pretoria east defaulting businesses:

– Elardus Park business R1.6m

– Moreletapark business property had a bill of R1.3m

– Silverton business owed over R800 0000

– Die Wilgers business owed over R800 000

Read original story on rekord.co.za