Greed can transform humans into scavengers & vultures.
Garnishee orders of ten times more than the original loan amount may have been one of the catalysts behind the Lonmin strikes and the tragic consequences.
That humans [the ones who setup such abusive garnishee orders] can reduce themselves to such depravity, even if legal, is repulsive. Where the law does not condemn such practices it is indeed the proverbial "ass".
Whoever setup such vile garnishee orders should be named and shamed.
We unfortunately have predators that have gravitated to 'service provision' in the field of collecting arrears - but natural scavengers like hyenas and vultures are actually noble in contrast.
The vast majority of those in debt are in such circumstances through Life's misfortunes and not because they are 'dishonourable'; greater wisdom is needed to deal with collecting arrears, and the one-dimensional method of jackboots and gruff voices are not the way forward.
South African municipal arrears are escalating - and the revenue collecting sector is mostly failing because it follows outdated approaches.
Municipal managers too are failing - municipal sustainability requires holistic approaches, and depending upon classical revenue collection to fix 'things' is outdated and not in touch with reality.
Perhaps the Marikana Commission should seek the tipping point in the unethical excesses of debt collectors and their legal representatives.
... this should ring alarm bells for municipalities trying to recover their arrears.
Key is the significant increase in fuel, electricity and food.
Households are becoming more and more unsustainable, and this will manifest in worsening arrears.
The formulas of days gone by are over, gruff voices and jackboots will no longer work for recovering monies to keep municipalities sustainable.
... most black children live in poverty, and many go to sleep hungry!
Municipalities are the interface to the poor masses.
Yet much of the municipal arrears are made up from consumers of impoverished households.
Classical debt collecting, taken to the extent of summons, default judgements and warrants of execution against these households is tearing the fabric of community, and is no longer a solution (if it ever was) for creating municipal sustainability.
All it does is enrich classical debt collectors for the process of tormenting the impoverished. We are feeding service providing disciplines that are predatory and scavenging instead of feeding the hungry.
There is a need for a new age in ensuring municipal sustainability and the armies of jackboots and gruff voices should be seen as the fossils that they indeed are.
Municipalities need to take a fresh look at how they go about collecting revenue and not be seduced into continuing with practices that are not only far outdated but contrary to the spirit of '94.
After all we only need to look at places like Syria and other zones of conflict to be reassured that what we achieved in conflict resolution as South Africans was, and remains, historically outstanding, despite the tragedy of Marikana.
Syria spawns death tolls twice that of Marikana every day ...
Much of the rest of the world has little to offer as examples of what we achieved ... so it is ironical that we still do have jackboots and gruff voices in municipal revenue collection.
... finally, Sanity is taking root.
The days of revenue collection with jack booted, self righteous gruff voices terrorising impoverished households are numbered.
Sustainability requires more than initimidating debt collectors perpetuating a reign of psychological terror on the unfortunate.
In economics the Law of Diminishing Returns is relevant.
At some point, an additional unit of say electrical disconnection or a summons with default judgement and warrant of execution will not make the municipality any more sustainable.
Actually, it will start a negative spiral where households that have been humiliated despite their good intent begin to disintegrate.
Unlike private sector retailers, municipalities cannot shut their doors to the citizens within their areas.
The negative spiral will manifest itself in a number of ways, as sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night.
Smug debt collectors may be patting themselves on their shoulders for the profit they have made, and given the nature of the work and the type of characters that are drawn to this work, they probably mostly sleep well at night despite the destruction they have achieved.
Others, like the visionary Lucas Holtzhausen of Ladysmith-Emnambithi, see the need to go well beyond the mere sowing of misery ... and rather questing for the more noble effort of discovering the sustainable formula: where municipal service delivery is affordable by the populace, without compromising any of the constitutional rights of the citizens.
Ekurhuleni has taken an excellent step in the right direction ... when municipal service delivery finds its right equilibirum we can dispose of the jackboots and the self righteous gruff voices.
"Over the past 18 months, households' debt to municipalities has shot up by almost a third, from R38,3bn to R50,8bn - an increase of R12,5bn. This has pushed SA's municipal debt mountain up to R77,6bn, according to preliminary municipal financial data for the 2011/2012 financial year which ended in June."
This is equivalent to the monies Span may require for its bailout!
The 'jackboot' approach to revenue collection from households in arrears is failing - these households do not have the money.
Sustainability, a multi-faceted phenomenon, requires a new approach beyond Letters of Demands, Summonses and Warrants Of Execution.
Relying solely on these as the last line of defence is both futile and simplistic.