Municipal revenue enhancement exercises are often like dreaming, fantasizing about spending money that one does not have!
In a time when the majority of consumers are not sustainable finding ever new ways to charge for services will only promote greater municipal arrears.
That there is a strata of consumers that can be charged for additional services that will help keep municipalities sustainable when the private sector has arrived there before you as a municipality reach them, is unlikely.
It is like passing the ball backwards and sideways without striking for goal … the ninety minutes will be up and more than likely a defensive mistake will have cost a goal or two and the game too.
The goal is Sustainability and municipal sustainability has mostly to do with the ability of the consumer as a whole to afford the services the municipality provides.
The first and foremost objective for municipal Sustainability is to protect municipal arrears from the ravages of unscrupulous private sector collectors.
There are ways to do this – even if the private sector will scream like a banshee!
Then the next crucial step is to reduce the cost of service delivery without compromising the constitutional rights of the citizen.
This requires the elimination of wasteful service delivery, wherever it manifests, either in the form of inefficient service delivery or in the actual literal wastage of the service e.g. a dripping tap, or flushing toilets with perfectly clean water when there are gray water options to achieve the same.
The so called ‘revenue protection’ which is a fancy word that electrical engineers invented to stop the theft of electricity is a sort of partial answer – consumers steal electricity only because most of them cannot afford purchasing electricity.
The real sustainable way to resolve this is via off the grid renewable energy in the form of solar panels, low cost wind turbines etc.
Somewhere the collective brain of municipal executives is stuck in a previous century, maintained there by consultants who are themselves stuck in a previous century.
The new century is Green – if it wishes to see itself run its full course, and there is lots in the Establishment that needs to be paradigm-shifted: without Molotov cocktails being thrown, tyres being set alight, cars being overturned, and poo being slung … that only excites the militant revolutionaries, who are themselves stuck in a previous century too, where violence and human right abuses were ‘justified’ by the ‘end’.