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Mangaung Metro desperate for income

You are probably aware that Mangaung Metro is under administration.

Probably not surprising when one considers how ineffective and inefficient the municipality is.

Last week they disconnected water from 35 body corporates, managed by different body corporate managers, because individual owners were in arrears with their rates and taxes.

Not only was this action unconstitutional — because they were punishing all the owners in a building because some owners owed them — but it was also illegal in that they did not even follow their own procedures before doing the disconnections.

There is a process of written warnings that must be implemented, including a 15-day final notice before disconnection can take place.

Further to that, it is not legal to totally disconnect water especially in the middle of a pandemic where one is told to wash hands regularly.

Rates and taxes are paid directly to the metro by individual owners.

Importantly, many buyers of sectional title and home owners association units don’t understand and are not told that they are responsible for their rates account and may not even be aware that they have to pay a monthly levy plus water and electricity accounts.

While it is no excuse that they don’t do their homework and that they must understand that there is water and electricity to pay for they should really be educated by their sales agent about the levy and rates.

Some simply don’t register with metro.

What happens when a transfer takes place is that your name is entered as the owner of your unit, but unless you contact them they will not know where you stay and how to get hold of you.

Sending a letter to you in the post is not going to work because the Post Office is nearly as defunct as they are plus the metro doesn’t always have paper or toner in their printers to be able to print your letter.

They certainly don’t have money for postage, either which would not be delivered by the Post Office to you anyway.

The amount of time and effort that was required to get the water back on again was crazy.

And it was only possible to get it done more than 24 hours after it was switched off.

One company managed to get an urgent court interdict against the metro on which they will have to pay about R150 000 costs incurred by the body corporate.

For the other buildings, the municipality eventually listened to sense from their own advocate who told them that it was illegal.

This stopped a number of other interdicts from being issued including ours.

They won’t be so lucky next time.

In my mind the person in the finance department who made this decision should have known better — they have lost similar cases at great cost to them before and should be held personally liable for the wasted costs.

Then they should be fired.

It was interesting that one property owner told us that she is one of those in arrears.

Her experience has been that despite numerous emails advising the metro that she is the owner of her unit, they have never sent her an account number and she has no idea what she might owe.

She simply gave up because they are so ineffective.

  • Mike Spencer is the founder and owner of Platinum Global. He is also a professional associated property valuer and consultant with work across the country as well as Eastern Europe and Australia.

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