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Revenue Enhancement


1 Revenue Enhancement

TGIS has been using the methods described below for more than 11 years in serving South African Municipalities. The approach to sustainable revenue enhancement for municipalities is a two stage process. It is a linear process meaning phases should not be skipped but the client can complete stage one and not proceed to stage two.

The common denominator for a municipality where services are delivered and revenue is generated is land. Every service gets delivered to a land parcel, for instance the water reticulation system places water line to a house on a piece of land, this is the same for all municipal services they get delivered to a land parcel. The invoices for services rendered and rates and taxes are then delivered to the owner and or user of the land with the goal of recouping the costs of delivering said service. If a municipality does not have an accurate cadastral data set, the client does not know what land they administer, where it is, who it belongs to, or even where the services are being delivered to, this information gap cause a shortfall in revenue as billing is incomplete when compared to the land base. Thus a full land audit is necessary to get the full picture of what the situation of the ground looks like. A full picture of the zoning is now available as well as correct addresses for delivery of bills.

Knowing where the land base is only half of the challenge, merely knowing the land situation is not sufficient to increase revenues, one must compare the financial and billing system to this accurate land information. The discrepancies will highlight where bills have been incorrectly addressed and also show where bills have never been sent but there are billable services delivered as well as what the correct rates and taxes to be applied should be. When the land base or common denominator is correctly linked to the revenue collection tool a municipality is now able to better manage and recoup costs via the correct billing, which results in increased revenues. Thus a billing or financial system audit is necessary to determine what the situation in the clients offices looks like and then to bring this into alignment with the actual situation the ground. The correct bills for rates and taxes can now be levied as the correct identification of the land and is zoning is available, additionally extra consumers will be identified based on billable land which has never been identified and billed. A correct and accurate consumer database is now available to the municipality.

The final challenge to successfully enhancing revenues is ensure the correct amount is billed. This involves ensuring accurate measurement of the service delivered. This is usually measured by meters. Thus a full field audit of all metering devices in the municipality should be conducted to ensure, they are being correctly read, they are present, they are functioning and they have been correctly linked to both the land parcel and billing system. Thus a full meter audit is necessary to determine what the situation is at the end clients or residents location is, this can then be linked back to the land and billing system. The correct billing for quantities delivered is now a possibility.

1.1 Stage 1: Land Audit

This section summarises our standard approach, the data is more accurate and hence more reliable. Than that supplied by the third party sources whom merely act as a brokerage and place not value on accuracy.  

  1. Acquire the Surveyor-General digital parcel (Cadastral) data set. Convert the supplied parcel keys to the 21-digit property identifier used by the Surveyor-General.
  2. Acquire all available scanned diagrams images of Farms, Holdings, Erven, and General Plans.
  3. Build an alpha-numerical attribute (approximately 15 items) database of all scanned images and link it to the parcel data set. This includes items such as metricated area of the property, diagram number, etc.
  4. Link the scanned images to the parcel (Cadastral) data set referred to in 1 above.
  5. Acquire the deeds data. Data supplied by the Registrar of Deeds is accepted as being correct and final.
  6. Build an alpha-numerical database to accommodate the approximately 25 fields of information associated to property ownership. This will include items such as Clearance details, Owner names and ID numbers, Title number and registration date, Bond information, Endorsements, etc.
  7. Link the deeds data to the digital parcel (Cadastral) data set.
  8. Using the Deeds data ring-fence the parcels that are found to be registered properties from those that are not registered (only surveyed). This will enable the GIS to correctly display in the map only the current registered properties and the option to indicate separately properties that are not registered. This tool is critical to manage property properly.
  9. Within the categories Registered and Surveyed create separate features in the GIS system for Town Erven, Farm portions and Street portions.
  10. Create a History feature on the GIS to where all components of registered consolidations, cancelled or withdrawn diagrams are moved as these transactions take place. This will take place only for movements that take place after the date of  inception of the project.
  11. With all the above information to our disposal, verification of the data supplied by the Surveyor-General can begin. This is done in conjunction with the deeds data supplied by the Registrar of Deeds and involves running discrepancy reports to identify missing data. The data is then acquired and added to the GIS and associated databases.
  12. The verification of the parcel (Cadastral) data set supplied by the Surveyor-General is conducted not only in terms of completeness (Item 11 above), but also in terms of correctness, i.e. numbering and position. The latter requires extensive investigations and calculations. Nothing is accepted to have been spatially supplied correct by the source, everything is scrutinised.
  13. Link the GIS to the Financial and other databases as specified by the client.
  14. Planet GIS system will be used to capture data which will be made available to the client in a customised IMIS-Lite (stand alone viewing tool). This particular tool is used as it can read and convert most other data formats available in South Africa. It is associated to an Access database. The data and database may be manipulated to other formats if requested (oracle, My SQL ect).
  15. Informal land parcels (not appearing on an approved survey diagram) can be captured provided  that quality aerial photography is made available by the client, but is by default excluded from the quotation.
  16. Provide a discrepancy report highlighting the discrepancies between the billing data and the land data. This can then be rectified by building a correct consumer database.

Once the land audit is complete and the issues rectified the municipality will be able to recover more revenue from a accurate consumer database. This enhanced revenue can pay for the cost of the land audit within one year of completion and from then on, there will be excess revue to be invested back into other projects and further enhanced service delivery.

1.1.1 Maintenance of Data

A maintenance contract is available to ensure the data is updated and the links maintained. The pricing related to data maintenance will be determined during the project, it is subject to the amount of properties and data entities to be monitored and maintained.

Data Cleaned Maintenance:   This GIS already contains verified information and requires only updating of parcels (Cadastral) and deeds information. The map information will be updated every three months whilst the ownership movement will take place every month. The linking back to the financial/billing system will occur every three months. The maintenance period will also be for three years.

We have been installing Land based GIS in municipalities since 1999, and have cleaned the data sets for 46 municipalities. We currently maintain the data for 31 Municipalities. We are the land audit experts, we have additionally worked with every single supplier of financial systems to municipalities and have working relationships with them all, any and all costs related to the interaction with the financial system provider is for the account of the client.

1.2 Stage 2: Metering Audit

The metering audit will treated in a similar manner to a fully GRAP compliant field audit of infrastructure services.

Information on existing meters will be captured into the GIS and database from Paper Plans, CAD drawing files and GIS projects in a data format and structure that matches the requirements of the final register and the field process.

This data is loaded on a GPS logger that has a Planet Mobile GIS capability that shows aerial photography, land parcel data, and existing asset data. This is used to guide the field teams to quickly locate items in the field, as well as for a field exercise progress control.

The logger has a built in camera and a customised IMIS database allowing GRAP 17 Asset Breakdown capture of data. All data is therefore captured digitally, eliminating finger errors and data correlation problems that arise when paper or separate cameras are used. The data is brought back to the office, downloaded, and subject to rigorous quality checking on completeness and correctness of condition assessments.

Field teams shortages will be supplemented by fully trained and up skilled local residents whom are unemployed. This is as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme, this can be highlighted by the client, they will be supervised by experienced TGIS employees.

All field workers will be trained to identify the meter, class, type and record the relevant needed data. Each meter will have photographs taken as proof of its existence and condition.  They will also be supplemented with a field manual which has examples and instructions to ensure accuracy of data captured.

Once captured each and every meter combined with its meta data will be checked by a skilled person from TGIS to ensure validity and accuracy. They will also correct all errors which are able to be correct by desktop exercise, for example changing from a digital to analogue meter based on the image. All irresolvable issues will be reported upon and a revisit in the field will take place by a skilled field worker. This process wil take place until all meters have been captured.

The GIS plotted meters will then be linked to the correct cadastral land parcel. Any and all gaps identified in the GIS will result in an investigation to ensure that every effort is placed to correctly link the parcel to the meter, to the consumer in the billing system. Where possible readings will be taken to ensure current meter reading companies if applicable are actually reading the meters. All broken meters will be reported to the client to ensure maintenance takes place.

Once all meters are located and linked to the GIS and consumer database and cadastral data set. The municipality will now be able to reconcile the accounts and rectify all gaps of over and under billing. The GIS data can now be used to guide the technical department when performing routine meter readings and repairs.

In our experience to date, we have located about 20% more meters to be read and billed upon, which could result in a 20% increase in revenues for that service type for the client. This tends to be in the millions and will be worth the effort of investigation. The project will be run to GRAP specifications and as such need not be repeated for the compilation of the asset register, the data will be accurate and can be taken as final for the asset register base information. To get it to a full meter asset register, a unit rate per meter need to be determined and run against the condition rating of the meter, this will provide  values for the meter (CRC, DRC, useful life ect).

At TGIS we have worked, adapted, cleaned and delivered land audits and meter audits to a variety of clients. In our experience we have found some clients to posses outdated and incorrectly cleaned datasets which they assume are correct, which can lead to a variety of errors in decision making as well as large shortfalls in billing and revenue collection. We will gladly verify your data’s quality. Please contact us on +27 12 991 3624 or



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