BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
LUPANE’S Kusile Rural District Council (RDC) has threatened court action against government ministries, businesses and ordinary residents over outstanding debts running into millions of dollars.
In a notice, the Kusile RDC said it had been left with no option, but to approach the courts to force debtors to settle their outstanding bills, some dating back to over five years.
“Notice is hereby given that the Kusile RDC intends to invoke section 151 of the Rural Council Act to recover unpaid levies, rates and charges by action through the Lupane Magistrates’ Court,” the notice read.
“Those with outstanding rates, charges, rents and levies have 14 days from the publication of this notice to make payment or negotiate a payment plan with the council following which action will be taken without further notice.”
According to section 151 of the Rural Council Act, “where any levy, rate, special rate, charge or rent imposed or made by a council In terms of this Act remains unpaid after the date on which it becomes due and payable, the council may recover it by action or proceedings in the court of the magistrate.”
Kusile RDC chief executive officer Christopher Chuma told Southern Eye on Tuesday that council operations had been severely affected by failure of ratepayers to settle their rentals and levies, among others, for years.
“I do not have the figures off-head, but we are owed several millions by our debtors,” Chuma said.
“The debtors have been ignoring our warnings, leaving us with no option, but to approach the courts to force payments. The failure of the debtors to settle their bills is severely affecting council operations.
“Also, failure to settle bills on time affects the council in this environment where there is inflation … Our duty is to provide efficient service delivery, but without payment, we cannot.”