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By Marizka Coetzer

Journalist


Don’t take bribes – city urges staff

Tshwane service staff cautioned against taking bribes during prepaid meter upgrades. City allocates R75 million for system overhaul.


City of Tshwane service staff working with the new prepaid meters were warned not to take bribes from residents when cutting off illegal connections, as part of the metro’s attempt to turn around its finances.

This week, MMC of finance Jacqui Uys said R75 million was allocated to upgrade the prepaid token identity system ahead of the November deadline.

Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said because the prepaid meter software expires on 24 November, the software had to be configured from standard transfer specification (STS 1) to STS 2 for the prepaid system to continue functioning beyond the deadline.

Rollover process began last month

He said the city began the rollover process last month in Eldoraigne in Centurion, where field workers were working towards the transition to a new system before the expiry period of the current one.

“If the meter software is not updated, the prepaid meters will not accept any token generated after November 2024.”

Mynardt Ferreira from the city’s utility services said residents only had to convert the prepaid meters to the new system once.

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He said once the meters were converted, residents buying electricity would receive two key changes and a power token. “Those key changes must be entered in the sequence it was received, otherwise the power token will not be accepted.”

Roll out region by region

Ferreira said prepaid meters would be rolled out region by region and divided into wards.

“We’re not going to convert all the meters at once but all prepaid meters, not just in Tshwane, have to be upgraded before the November deadline – even private meters,” he said.

Mayor Cilliers Brink said the new system was fairly easy to use and asked residents to be patient while they rolled out the system in phases.

“The reason was that we don’t want any technical problems to occur across the city,” he said.

“We would rather break it down into regions to make technical problems more manageable and the turnaround time quicker.”

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MMC for utilities Themba Fosi warned field workers not to return to properties where they cut illegal connections. He said a R500 [bribe] may sound tempting, but it was not worth it.

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