The Polokwane Municipality has been cutting off power to government offices, claiming it is owed R250 million.

On Thursday, municipal spokesperson Thipa Selala said the campaign would continue, targeting businesses and individuals.

“We are not only focusing on departments but top owing businesses and individuals. The municipality needs to collect [the outstanding payments] to ensure the financial viability of the institution,” Selala added.

The Limpopo health, education, public works, and agriculture and rural development departments were among the entities to have their power cut.

The health department has since hit back at the municipality’s actions.

Health spokesperson Neil Shikwambane said some bills, including the unpaid R53 million rates and taxes owed by Mankweng Hospital, were “wrongly directed”.

“The department has in the past engaged the Polokwane Municipality to send the bill for rates and taxes to the relevant department,” added Shikwambane.

Selala said the municipality did not cut electricity to hospitals and schools.

In situations where the hospital is owing, we switch off the Department of Health’s head office; where a school is owing, we cut off the Department of Education’s head office. The Department of Health was switched off for consumption [of electricity] on various properties, not the hospital rates.

Opposition parties have slammed the departments for not paying their bills, saying this was a reflection of poor coordination between spheres of government. 

The DA’s Jacques Joubert said the departments had been treated favourably for “far too long”.

“Credit control should be enforced consistently and without any political favours,” added Joubert.

ALSO READ | City Power cuts lights of Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

In a statement, the EFF described the department’s payment avoidance as “irresponsible”.

“We cannot sympathise with irresponsible and corrupt ANC government departments. The EFF demands accountability and consequence management to be effected in these departments,” the party said.

Provincial government spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said the municipality was implementing its credit control policy by switching off electricity since “it, too, has obligations to meet”.

He pointed to inefficiency within some departments and unreconciled historical debt on properties as some of the factors behind the significant unpaid electricity bills. 

“As the office of the premier, we have placed the matter on the agenda of the inter-governmental forum. The item is attended to [quarterly],” Ramakuela said.

Request a Quote - CMS, CRM, ERP & Custom Development

Request a Quote - Web Design & Development


Chat to Us on Whatsapp

× Chat Now