The Gaborone City Council (GCC) is struggling to recover P121.7 million rate arrears, mayor Kagiso Thutlwe said yesterday.
Thutlwe told the full council meeting that they have collected P82.7 million in arrears during the year, using various channels including commercial banks as well as through tougher debt collection methods.
The Council also did a house-to-house campaign, which had netted P14.1 million from the 649 letters of demand delivered.
“Let me plead with all ratepayers to inform us whenever there are changes in their contact addresses so that we deliver their bills to the right people,” he said.
Over the years, the heavy outstanding rate arrears have impacted on the local authority’s service delivery, leading to an increased reliance on government funding.
For the 2015/16 financial year, which starts on April 1, the Council plans to spend P321.1 million, of which P110.5 million will come from the local authority’s own sources, which include rates.
The planned budget is up from the P303.7 million the Council expects to have spent by March 31. Thutlwe said in September 2013, a private attorney was engaged to collect state land arrears and had thus far netted P924,699 out of a total of P1.7 million outstanding. “The main problem encountered has been absentee landlords (and the fact that) some insist that they have cleared their debts, but fail to produce documents/receipts,” he said. The Council is also owed P5 million in service levy arrears and plans are underway to contact the Deeds Registry and National Registration to assist in tracing plot ownership and plot holders.