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Friday Sep 14, 2012

Airport highway lights off amid accounts bungle

No one has paid the bills, so the lights on the R24 between OR Tambo International Airport and the Edenvale off-ramp got switched off in the confusion. This time, the City of Joburg isn't to blame.

But no one knows who owes what, because some sections of highway belong to the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport and some to the Ekurhuleni municipality.

The lights have been since August last year.

Ekurhuleni turned off the lights on this freeway, which carries international visitors and tourists to and from the airport, and claims that the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has not paid it.

However, because there are several separate accounts for different stretches of the road, no one appears to know exactly who owns which stretch and who owes what.

There is R278 000 owing for just one section.

So the solution has been to turn off the lights until a reconciliation has been done.

And so far it has taken a year to do that.

The matter was escalated to Parliament by DA MP Helen Lamoela, in questions to the Minister of Transport Ben Martins.

The minister said both the provincial department and the Ekurhuleni council were responsible for the street lights.

Ekurhuleni, he said, had to verify its records and consolidate the electricity account created on its billing system into one, and determine what was due by Gauteng, and a full reconciliation was pending.

The province told the minister that the lights would be switched on once it got the consolidated account and the outstanding amounts were settled.

The Star


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