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South Africa’s Towns Struggle to Collect $14.8 Billion Owed

Debt owed to South African towns and cities almost doubled over the past five years, weighing on municipal finances and increasing the risk that the supply of basic services such as water and electricity will be disrupted. 

Consumers owed municipalities 255.4 billion rand ($14.8 billion) by the end the financial year through June 30, compared with 232.8 billion a year earlier, according to data the National Treasury published on Friday. Households account for 71% of this. Of the outstanding debt, 86% is older than 90 days and may therefore not be realistically collectible.