Municipal Service Deposits

The City of Johannesburg recently announced that retrospective security deposits will be charged for electricity as well as water meter. This however is not the end, the City of Johannesburg also announced that on top of the just heard announcement, two months’ average on municipal bills will also be charged. Is this direction that the city of Johannesburg taking a step in the right direction? Will this lead to a new country-wide law being implemented or will this be only applicable within the boundaries of what is known as the City of Gold?

This new rule being implemented is said to be completely in line with the City’s bylaws and if the deposit amounts are not paid, services may be discontinued, claims Michael Bauer who is the general manager of well-known property management company IHFM. In section 39(1)(d) of the City of Johannesburg’s Credit Control and Debt Collection By-Laws of 2005 states that “No municipal service may be provided to my applicant, unless and until an amount equal to the amount prescribed… has been deposited as security or other security, as prescribed, has been furnished.” Judging by what the section embodies, it can be clearly concluded that the direction that the City of Johannesburg is taking is clearly the legal way. As we know, the bill does not lie indeed.

Furthermore, Section 33.1 of the City’s Credit Control and Debt Collection policy states that “all accountholders shall pay a deposit for the supply of electricity and/or water by the City calculated as the rate of the deemed consumption for a period of two months in respect of the property in question.”

Since steering this project into full force from the month of February this year in various regions, the City of Johannesburg claims that customers have chosen to ignore the request of paying off their deposits which therefor forces the City to enforce these bylaws. So we ask you. Do you think the City of Johannesburg’s officials are doing the right thing by enforcing these new bylaws? Will these newly enforced bylaws be enough to persuade our fellow Johannesburg based customer into following the correct protocol or will these bylaws end up giving more reason for the people to rebel against it? Only time will tell.