Cough up or choke? Its not that simple

 Emfuleni Local council seems to have gotten itself in a very sticky situation this time around.
But is it really a surprise that at the moment the community is suffering due to their unpaid accounts? Surely at some point someone in council should have realised that this bubble of denial would burst and that they would have to face the music. The unfortunate part about all of this, though, is that it happens during Executive Mayor Assistance Mshudulus tenure in council and although he clearly was not on the hot seat for the past ten years when this fiasco started brewing, he must now sweep clean.

All those who came before Mshudulu must be breathing a sigh of relief that they never had to deal with such a messy situation themselves. Right, Emfuleni has admitted that there is a financial problem but now we need to hear what is next and what plan of action they are preparing to take to make sure that a change comes fast or else they may suffer very grave repercussions for this.

We know for a fact that some people are not paying their municipal accounts, but one can almost be sure that some of them have financial constraints. However, without a doubt some might be plain sick and tired of being wrongfully billed (as has been reported by this newspaper several times before).

It is only until council comes up with a good plan to sort out into categories what type of non-payers they are dealing with can they begin to deal with the problem. First there are those who are genuinely impoverished and suffer and struggle to have a loaf of bread on the table and for them to even think of paying a rand to local council for services is not an option.

 Then you get those who are marginally impoverished and although they might afford to pay for services, they would rather pay their childrens school fees (hardly a difficult decision).
Then there are those who are able to pay their accounts but they simply do not do it because of various reasons such as the financial strain being put on them by the economic recession, the loss of jobs and business, sheer anger at councils billing system, being fed up with unsatisfactory services or plain old lack of planning and ignorance.

Whatever the reason for people not paying their accounts, there should be a unique plan of dealing with these different classes of residence. One of the steps that apply to all of them, though, is to make sure that they all stay informed. Indigents need to know what steps to follow in order to avoid being indebted and those in arrears also need to know what options are available to them.
Having said all this, one thing remains: Something needs to be done, fast!