Marchers want free power for poor

2012-05-30 00:00

ALMOST two years ago the Msunduzi Municipality promised to provide 200kWh of free electricity per month to households with prepaid meters.

Yesterday a group of about 200 people marched to the city hall, complaining to Mayor Chris Ndlela that the municipality hasn’t lived up to its promise.

The group handed Ndlela a memorandum expressing concern over Msunduzi’s proposed tariff increases of 16% for electricity and 15% for water, which will be finalised today.

The march, organised by the Electricity Action Group and the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness ­(Pacsa) drew around 200 people from Sobantu, Snathing, Imbali, kwaPata and other areas around Pietermaritzburg.

“This march is about the affordability of services,” Pacsa spokesperson Mervyn Abrahams told The Witness.

“The tariff hikes only serve to ensure that the poor and their children remain in poverty. We want the municipality to structure costs so they are affordable to the poor,” he said.

In the memorandum the group demanded free basic electricity of 200kWh per month for households with prepaid electricity connections. They said this had been promised by the municipality in October 2010.

They also wanted all broken and faulty prepaid boxes to be fixed and for electricity to be provided to those households still without access.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said the municipality was not ready to provide free electricity while it was busy recouping outstanding debts for services.

“Whatever plan we make must not be to the disadvantage of the municipality,” he said.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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