Judge's municipal battle

2012-01-23 00:00

MSUNDUZI’S long-suffering residents may well have a high-powered champion. This after high court Judge Rishinand Seegobin became the latest citizen to battle the municipality’s chaotic billing system.

The irate judge has given the municipality until noon today to reconnect his water, which was cut off 10 days ago.

If it fails to act, he intends obtaining an order compelling them to do so.

The taps in his Allandale home ran dry on January 13, four months after errors cropped up on his water and electricity account, which he said the municipality ignored.

“This has resulted in my electricity and water bill mysteriously escalating from an average amount of R2 700 per month to over R20 000 in October 2011,” said the judge.

“It is currently sitting at approximately R48 000.”

The Seegobins’ fight to have their electricity restored was successful, but their water — which was also disconnected on January 13 while they were away on holiday — remains off.

Judge Seegobin said yesterday that his wife had been shunted from one department to another in an effort to try and resolve the problem.

“The municipality has conceded that the billing error relates to a faulty water meter, which they agreed to test and for which payment has been made as per the municipality’s request,” he said.

“To date they have clearly not attended to the query.”

What also worries Judge Seegobin is that if this is how the municipality treats a high court judge, how do they treat ordinary citizens?

Msunduzi Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said he was unable to comment on the judge’s case due to insufficient information at his disposal.

“Any inconvenience suffered by any of our consumers is deeply regretted. I’d like to be given an opportunity to investigate this matter tomorrow [today],” he added.

Meanwhile, the judge headed off to his local supermarket yesterday to buy a five-litre bottle of water.

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