Minister meets ratepayer group
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Pretoria - Associations are not entirely to blame for the withholding of rate payments to municipalities, people in the townships also do it, said Local Government Minister Sicelo Shiceka on Monday.
"It's a problem that is generalised," Shiceka told journalists in Pretoria.
Shiceka was speaking after meeting members of the Concerned Ratepayers' Association (Corpa), which had been withholding rate payments in the protest stricken Madibeng Municipality in the North West.
Shiceka, the municipal mayor Sophie Machika and Corpa leader Jaco Deckerns agreed to work together in addressing the backlogs and to avoid the legal route.
"We agreed to get into a discussion... It's doable and we are excited about it," he said.
Meanwhile, Deckerns whom Shiceka described as "sensible", chose not to disclose how much the organisation had in its coffers.
He said, however, should the municipality keep to its word, Corpa would start paying.
Madibeng was recently hit by numerous protests, with residents demanding better service delivery and the removal of the mayor for failing to deliver. Some of the problems in the municipality were lack of water and sanitation and poor waste management.
Machika welcomed any type of solution that would provide unity and strengthen service delivery.
"We can't fund ourselves alone," she said.
Shiceka said he would meet other municipalities and similar associations throughout the country in the next months.
"Withholding rates has a serious impact on services... we will break the back of this problem," he said.
He said problems would be attended to at a local level and that he did not want the involvement of political parties.
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