Gauteng provincial government can’t pay city rates

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Constituency Head – Joburg East:

The Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) has admitted that it is unable to pay an outstanding rates bill of R57 150 for a house it owns in Dewetshof in east Johannesburg.

I was astonished when I received this information in a written reply by Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza in reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mayathula-Khoza, “the non-payment of the account is due to insufficient budgetary allocation for the payment of assessment rates of GPG properties … GDID therefore prioritizes payments for those properties that provide essential services, such as Education and Health facilities.”

She adds “The GDID has requested an additional budget allocation to make up the shortfall for the 2015/16 financial year through the budget adjustment process. The additional funding, if allocated, will be used to settle rates accounts that are in arrears, like the property in question.”

Ordinary residents have to pay their rates, but a provincial government department refuses to pay on the grounds that there is no budget. It sets a very poor example, especially since the city of Johannesburg has already served summons for the rates to be paid on this house.

Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy recently committed the provincial government to clearing its municipal arears “over the next two years.”

If any resident said they would pay over two years they would be laughed off. Why should provincial government get special treatment for non-payment?

Non-payment effects the delivery of services. We should expect better from provincial government in paying its municipal bills promptly.