Deposits stun city residents

2010-07-29 00:00

IT appears that it is becoming unaffordable to move home in Pietermaritzburg if the latest electricity and water connection deposits are anything to go by.

This is the general view shared by disgruntled locals who phoned into The Witness to complain that the deposits, which have increased by a whopping 300%, are unaffordable for the average person.

Speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, affected locals said they have been backed into a financial corner.

One complainant said she decided to move into a flat in an attempt to save money, but she was shocked when she was told that she would have to pay a deposit of R2 000 if she wanted her electricity connected.

“I thought it would be R650. Something has to be done because people can’t afford this. I can’t even cancel my lease because it’s already been signed, but I’m really not prepared to pay. Does that mean I have to live in darkness?” she said.

The complainant said she went to the municipal offices on Tuesday to get answers, but was shunted from pillar to post.

Another complainant said her joy at moving to a cheaper flat was shortlived when she discovered that she has to pay the municipality R3 000 upfront if she wants it to connect her water and electricity.

“I went to the municipality to make arrangements to pay over six months, but I was told to borrow the money if I didn’t have it. I can’t come up with R3 000,” she said.

The complainant said she does not understand how the system works because she knows someone who is moving into a house and they have been charged the same deposit, even though she is moving into a one-bedroomed flat.

“I’m in a real pickle. They claimed they advertised this, but when I asked where, I just got a blank stare,” she said.

Some landlords told The Witness they are battling to find tenants because of these increased deposits and their livelihoods are under threat.

Msunduzi’s communications manager, Brian Zuma, said that deposits have not been raised for many years and have been increased to provide security against debts in arrears.

 

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