Not even City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba is immune to the ongoing billing crisis that has been plaguing the city for years. This became evident when Mashaba was billed twice in June, months before he became mayor.
To add insult to injury, the ANC in the Greater Johannesburg yesterday made his account details public, claiming he had settled his account only 10 days before he became the mayor. Relating the ordeal, Mashaba told The Citizen: “I have been living in Athol for 18 years and I have never owed the city in my life.”
Mashaba said in June the city sent him two statements and threatened to cut his services.
“It looked like it was some kind of harassment,” Mashaba said. According to Mashaba, he asked the former ANC mayor, Parks Tau, to intervene, but he was ignored.
“The city of Johannesburg failed and ignored to respond to my query, after receiving two invoices in one month,” Mashaba said.
“Instead they opted to use threats against one of their law-abiding residents. When I did not receive the response, I took it to be one of those cases not receiving attention. I eventually just paid.”
Mashaba said he was surprised that the Gauteng premier’s office yesterday raised the matter with journalists and that his account details had been published on social media platforms. He promised an urgent internal investigation into the matter.
“Someone in our accounts department is breaking the law sharing residents’ information.”
ANC Greater Johannesburg spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said that Mashaba settled his account after he realised he was going be the mayor because he didn’t want to be “embarrassed”.
“We will monitor him to see if he is paying, as he is monitoring others.”
Interestingly, details of Mashaba’s account come mere days after Mashaba said he would write to Gauteng Premier David Makhura, giving his government 30 days to either pay the R259 million the provincial government owes the city or enter an acceptable repayments agreement with the city, as any defaulting resident is expected to do.
Mashaba said the department of infrastructure and development owed R161 million, the department of human settlements’ debt was R39 million and the department of health’s was R59 million.