The Rustenburg Local Municipality’s Revenue Protection Team (RPT) has been hard at work ridding the City of consumers who illegally access Municipal services such as electricity and water. The RPT as the team is commonly known, came into being after the Municipal administration, became aware of both residents and businesses who were disconnected from the electricity and water supply but continued to access these services at the expense of paying customers.
The team’s success arises from the close working relationship with the Municipality’s Budget and Treasury Office (BTO), where all the customer information relating to accounts resides including, those with arrears. The team during their operations, confiscates all municipal infrastructure for electricity and water supply, to ensure that services are suspended until the outstanding amounts for services rendered is paid. The work of the RPT is part of the bigger campaign by the Municipality to ensure that a culture of payment for services rendered is entrenched in the City, as part of the City’s revenue management strategy.
The team issues fines, ranging from R 10.000 for a range of contraventions in line with the approved City by-laws, where illegal connections to water and electricity supply has been restored, where the Municipality had previously cut supply. For February alone, the Municipality has successfully effected over 800 connections, for accounts that had outstanding payments for services rendered. The businesses that owes the Municipality over 2.2 Million rand, which is a fraction of the over total of 5-billion-rand debt, have also been taken off the supply for water and electricity following attempts to recoup the money.
Money that is owed to the Municipality is critical in its daily operations, including servicing creditors such as the various water boards and Eskom among others to whom the Municipality is a bulk customer purchaser. The Municipality’s budget is only funded by about 5 percent, whereas the rest emanates from monies collected through, services, taxes and rates. In the absence of sufficient collection, the Municipality may be in a precarious position, where dispensing services to the City can be challenge thus causing unprecedented disruptions to the residents.