MIFFED: Lack of skills in municipalities are said to be the spark for rowdy service delivery protests. Picture: France Nyaka
A debt collector who recovered a whopping R17m for Mkhondo local municipality in Piet Retief within three months says many municipalities do not have the skills to bring together their debts.
The CEO of Johannesburg-based debt collector Zandile Management Services, Fikile Bili, said the absence of skills could be the biggest contributing factor to service delivery protests in some areas.
This comes after a report by national treasury released in August showing South Africa’s metropolitan municipalities were owed R46.1bn by consumers as at June 30.
As a result, the municipalities are wrestling with growing debt levels that are crippling their ability to render basic services, leading to service delivery protests in some cases.
Bili related the secret of his company’s ability to recover such a huge amount in less than three months.
“Our secret is in our approach. We are not aggressive but persuasive. We act as go-between municipalities and the communities,” Bili said.
“In Mkhondo municipality we created workable solutions in consultation with communities, churches and celebrities through campaigns to persuade consumers to pay their municipality debts.
“We have a courteous but firm approach.
“We make them understand why they must pay. We do not believe in cutting services and the only people we do not have mercy for are business and the government.”
Previously the treasury reported that for the financial year July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 the debt owed to the metropolitan municipalities had grown by almost 20%.
At the time the report said “metropolitan municipalities were owed R36.6bn in outstanding debt as at June 30, 2011”.
“This represents an increase of R6bn or 19.7%, from the fourth quarter of the 2009-10 financial year,” the Treasury report said.
It said the figure was up to R46bn in June and growing.