The City of Tshwane could not explain why the ANC’s chief whip and parliament were allowed to run up a utility bill of close to R1 million for failure to pay for water and lights on property they rented for the past six years.
According to documents seen by The Citizen, the party owes R806 999 for water and electricity, which they haven’t paid a cent towards since they first occupied the property in January 2012.
This after a month-to-month lease agreement was signed between the city and the ANC’s parliamentary chief whip, and a “new” agreement signed in April 2012 by head of ANC caucus Livhuwani Matsila.
At the time of the agreement, the city was run by former mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
But according to clause 3 of the agreement, the ANC was liable for payment of all charges by the municipality “in respect of the supply of electricity and water and any other service of whatever nature, rendered by the municipality to the lessee”. The party was up to date in terms of paying its monthly R6 000 rent.
It was only this year, however, that the city queried the exorbitant utility bill. Even though the lease agreement states that the tenants would be given a 10-day notice to comply should they breach the contract, and clearly states they would be evicted should they fail to comply, this was not done.
But the discrepancy was only noticed in the city’s recent internal report dated July 23, which stated that water and electricity bills were not paid since the party moved in six years ago.
In the city’s report, the property may be used for dwelling units, a guesthouse, a parking site and a residential building.
“Since the inception of the account, the lessee has never made any payments towards the city for the usage of water and electricity consumption,” reads the report. It also says that meter readings were not estimates, as the recent meter readings reflect “actual” readings on the billing system.
But the report further states: “Services continues to be rendered to the leased premises.”
After querying with the city, the reason for the ANC remaining at the property could not yet be confirmed. Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo could only confirm that the matter was handed to a debt collection agency.
“Attempts to recover the arrears have been followed in line with the credit control and debt collection policy,” was all he had to say.