By Molaole Montsho and Sihle Mlambo for IOL
The City of Tshwane has disconnected water and electricity supply at the Gautrain’s Hatfield Station due to non-payment of a R10-million rates bill, the City said on Tuesday.
On its Twitter account the City of Tshwane said Gautrain owed over R10 million and that they last paid their account in 2020.
However, Gautrain said on its social media platform that all Gautrain train services were operational and travelling according to schedule.
They said the disconnection of services was illegal and said they would be heading to court on an urgent basis to force the City to reinstate services.
“Yesterday officials from the City of Tshwane cut off water supply to Hatfield Gautrain station claiming that it was owed approximately R10m for services. This afternoon the City cut off electricity supply to the station.
“Hatfield station has a pre-paid electricity meter and the account is not only up to date but in credit to the value of approx R120 000. The water account is also up to date.
“We’ve been trying without success to contact the City to provide a statement of account and last night, the City shared a screengrab with us which reflects an account number that differs to the account number reflected on their notice to terminate services.
“The City has illegally cut off services to the station. Given that the water and electricity accounts for the station are paid in full and are up to date, we are calling on the City to urgently reconnect the water and electricity supply to Hatfield station and to avail itself to meet so that we can obtain a full statement of account rather than a screengrab,” the Gautrain said.
They added that they would be approaching the court to urgently interdict the City to restore services to the station “given its wrongful termination of services to Hatfield station”.
The City of Tshwane has been on an aggressive drive to collect billions of Rands owed to it by defaulting businesses, embassies, government departments and state owned companies.
Last week, the City said it was owed over R17bn in unpaid water, lights and property rates.
The SA Revenue Service (SARS) and the SA Police Service Headquarters were among those disconnected on Tuesday.
“SAPS Headquarters disconnected. The landlord (Mendo Properties) owe us R5.1 mil … SARS is the tenant. We are owed by the landlord,” the city said.
SARS said the building it occupied at Ashlea Gardens in Pretoria does not belong to them.
“We wish to put it on record that the building occupied by the organisation does not belong to SARS. It is a leased property, and to date, all services have been paid for, in full and on time.
“We sincerely apologise to taxpayers for the inconvenience that this may have caused. We will engage with the owners of the property, with the view to have this matter attended to as a matter of urgency,” the revenue collector said in a statement.
It said in the meantime, the office was using a generator and remains operational.
In a statement, City of Tshwane spokesperson Sipho Stuurman said the City encouraged all clients to pay their accounts to avoid service interruptions.
“The City of Tshwane has noted a concerning trend of non-payment due to disputes being lodged regarding certain services on municipal accounts,“ Stuurman said.
“We would like to make it clear that a dispute on a service line, such as electricity, does not exempt customers from paying for other municipal services, such as water, sanitation and waste services. It is important that customers continue to honour payments on all services consumed while a dispute is being addressed,” he said.