Durban – The Municipality of MSUNDUZI is looking to collect millions of rand required by its ratepayers to upgrade its aging and vulnerable electricity infrastructure. The municipality has put out an aggressive plan to allow ratepayers to pay their bills a year in advance. This money would go to financing the urgently necessary improvements to the electricity infrastructure of the region.
Under strain, the city’s electricity system is weak, inefficient and vulnerable to constant outages. There have been almost regular reports of areas experiencing faults since the beginning of the year. The idea, entitled the Covid relief package, was first presented last week before the finance portfolio committee and councilors held a workshop on Monday to discuss it again.
The package will be combined with a debt reduction programme that will provide distressed consumers with discounts. The municipality said it had adopted a number of measures for revenue enhancement that had not yielded the results necessary and planned. For most of these programs, the challenge has always been the execution, it said.
It added that ratepayers’ advanced funds would be ring-fenced and used for infrastructure growth, particularly for improvements to the electricity network. There has been considerable discussion about this with big business and the municipality has established that there is an appetite for this form of offer,” the report said. Marlon Hoskins, manager of Msunduzi Municipality debtors, said asking clients to pay in advance was better than borrowing money from banks. He said the city will use the money to finance its requirements for electricity infrastructure.