Blacklist warning for property owners in Joburg

 ·10 Apr 2024

The City of Joburg has issued a warning to all defaulting residential property owners and businesses that it will soon start blacklisting them to recover debts owed.

The city said that it is facing a growing municipal debt bill exceeding R52 billion, of which, R40 billion is due by thousands of residential property owners and businesses.

It said it also intends to invoke its Credit Control and Debt Collection Policy by reporting defaulting payers to appropriate Credit Bureaus.

Tebogo Moraka, Group Chief Financial Officer, said the city has set up a Specialised Revenue Collection Team, which will specifically target these defaulting payers across the city, and try to recoup the monies owed.

“Residents who are in arrears with their municipal accounts and who have not made arrangements for settling their bills, run the risk of being blacklisted,” he said.

“Business and domestic customers who perpetually default will soon be targeted by our specialised team as part of the city’s aggressive credit control campaign.

“These are individual businesses and households whose municipal accounts are in arrears for more than 61 days. These steps are necessary as the city also has bills to pay like Eskom and Rand Water,” Moraka said.

The city’s CFO said defaulting customers under the city’s radar for being blacklisted are specifically customers who have simply refused to respond positively to the city’s urging them to pay their accounts over a long time.

“These customers are those who would have gone through all the city’s processes to get them to pay their debt but had simply ignored all communication from the city.

“The city would have issued them with pre-termination notices informing them of the outstanding arrears and giving them enough time—14 days—to approach the city and settle their debt.

“The city would have also sent them final demand notices, sent SMSes and calling them to remind them to urgently settle their accounts without success,” he said.

Moraka said that the city has been left with no choice but to hand over “perpetual defaulters” to the Specialised Revenue Collection Team to begin the process of blacklisting them.

The CFO added that the city will not hesitate to lay criminal charges or effect arrests, impose hefty fines, and immediately disconnect electricity and water supply to those who illegally connect themselves to the services.

“All property owners who are struggling to service their accounts for various reasons should approach the city to avoid being cut off by making payment arrangements and signing an acknowledgement of debt,” he said.

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