Sars settles R800 000 electricity bill after Tshwane cuts off the lights

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) branch in the Pretoria CBD where Sars is a tenant in the building. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

The South African Revenue Service (Sars) branch in the Pretoria CBD where Sars is a tenant in the building. Picture: Oupa Mokoena Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 18, 2024


The South African Revenue Services (Sars) remains adamant that it did not default on its electricity bill owed to the Tshwane Municipality after the lights were turned off due to more than R800 000 arrears incurred at the office it occupies in Pretoria.

This comes as the metro confirmed yesterday that the revenue collector had since paid its arrears amount after being cut off as part of the “Tshwane Ya Tima” operation aimed at collecting R4 billion a month in arrears revenue.

In response to “Business Report” queries, Sars said it could not confirm the reported R838 000 arrears for electricity supply which had resulted in the metro switching off the lights, partly as a result of unpaid service charges.

“Sars does not know where this figure comes from and accordingly disputes it insofar as it is related to Sars,” it said in an emailed reply, parrying all questions on what had led to the default, whether the full amount had been settled and whether any one of its other assets faced similar risk.

“Sars is a tenant in the building and dutifully pays in full and on time for all the services.”

The City of Tshwane also cut electricity supply to the building occupied by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the largest asset manager in Africa.

City of Tshwane spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said all customers whose accounts were overdue – whether residential, commercial or government – will be subjected to credit control actions.

“The Sars account was paid in full yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. The PIC is engaging the City with a view of settling their debt,” he said.

The PIC, however, had not responded at the time of compiling the report.

Mashigo said the City was continuously identifying accounts that were overdue and issuing reminders and final demands for payments, as part of revenue collection.

The City disconnects the services if payment is not received after the final demand.

Once the services are disconnected, the customer has two options, which are to settle the overdue account in full, or pay a percentage of the amount and make payment arrangements for the balance.

The City will then restore services after receipt of payment.

Tshwane’s Finance MMC Jacqui Uys has said the campaign was aimed at recouping a staggering R23.3bn it was owed by various customers.

However, she said the municipality has turned its focus on the top 1 500 debtors, who collectively owe R6.2bn.

“A Department of Public Works account, which is for the building that houses Sars situated at the corner of Lilian Ngoyi and Francis Baard, was disconnected due to non-payment,” Uys said.

“Debtors in the City of Tshwane are treated the same and if there is non-payment, then credit control should follow.”

The municipality, which has been embroiled in financial woes, and is struggling to pay millions of rand to contractors, suppliers and workers, on time, reactivated the campaign hoping to collect at least a quarter of the R23.3bn owed to the city by its customers by midyear.