Joburg Advocacy Group (JAG): February 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NEWS UPDATES: JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

28 January 2012:

The City of Joburg has received a qualified audit from the Auditor General for the second year in a row:

The AG's report for Y2011 suggests that the city's perennial billing crisis is largely to blame for the qualified audit opinion:
  • The report notes that city's losses have 'skyrocketed' to R3bn from R1.4bn in Y2010.
  • R3bn is the cost of approx. 200,000 RDP houses at R15,000 each - or the annual salaries of around 100,000 municipal workers.
  • The city also incurred R48.5m in unauthorised expenditure and R397.6m in irregular expenditure in Y2011.
  • It further incurred a R2bn loss in water and electricity distribution, probably due to such issues as failing infrastructure and illegal electricity usage.
  • The AG was unable to verify "the accuracy, completeness and occurrence of R4.9 bn revenue collected through property rates".
A copy of the full audit report is available on the City of Joburg web site.

30 January 2012:

If you would like to comment on the city's draft rates policy, which is currently up for review, you can do so until 25 February. Click through here to view a copy of the draft.

Comments and objections should be sent to RatesComments@joburg.org.za, faxed to 011 727 0189, or dropped off at the Rates and Taxes Department, Jorissen Place, 66 Jorissen Street, Braamfontein.

9 February 2012:

Podcasts of an interview done with JAG by Radio France Internationale (RFI) in the run-up to the State of the Nation address can be accessed here (note that there are two parts to the interview). RFI broadcasts throughout Europe and into Africa in both French and English.

15 February 2012:

JAG has made a submission to Gauteng Premier, Nomvula Mokonyane, as part of the consultation process in the run-up to the State of the Province address. You can read the full submission in our document archives.

15 February 2012:

The National Consumer Tribunal has announced that hearings in the case between the National Consumer Commission (NCC) and the City of Joburg (CoJ) will take place at the Braamfontein Recreation Centre from 22 to 24 February. This is the first time that any attempt has been made to hold the city to account for the billing crisis in terms of the law. We therefore support the process and look forward to a meaningful outcome.

The hearings are open to the public, and more information is available here.

16 February 2012:

Nominations for Ward Committee candidates are still open. If you would like to stand for election or would like to nominate someone in your area, further information is available here.

17 February 2012:

Moneyweb on the Joburg billing crisis:

Cape Town vs Joburg SAP billing system: Cape Town implemented it in one year; Joburg has spent two years and there is no result.
Joburg facing "progressive system collapse": Civil society blasts city on billing crisis.