More empty promises

2014-10-27 00:00

Msunduzi upgrades its phone system

I’ve been away for two weeks and returned to the good news that Msunduzi Municipality is in the process of upgrading its telephone system. It may take a few weeks as a tender has gone out, but finally something is being done about that long-standing complaint about phones not being answered down at city hall.

Empty Promises

It was disappointing to return to the news that a promise to repair a water leak at the historic Commercial Road cemetery was not carried out. John Deare of the Genealogical Society of SA wrote that on July 28, Witness Warriors published his concern about a water leak in the cemetery on the old Grey’s Hospital side. He said “you printed a response from Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha who said the plumbers had been contacted and had fixed the leak”. He added there were some other promises made.

However, Deare said, on a photograph taken on October 24 there is still water running at the site. “It’s easy to get into the cemetery as the holes in the fences have still not been fixed,” he said.

Job half done

Pietermaritzburg is fortunate to have an active and concerned citizen like James Mills whose vigilance has helped sort out problems, particularly in the Scottsville area. His latest concern will definitely find resonance among residents across the city.

Firstly, it seems a concern he raised about no warning road traffic signs at a new speed hump that was erected in the Scottsville area was attended to. He thanked municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi for this. However, he visited the site last week and found that the painting of the speed hump had been half done.

In an open letter to Nkosi he says: “What I cannot understand is the mentality of some of your municipal employees who seem never to complete a job in one go and in this instance half painting the speed hump is not only ridiculous but shows no comprehension of the seriousness of the matter and road safety.

“It also gives one the impression that ‘oh well … let’s get back to the workshop and knock off … We can finish the job another day’. Or perhaps they ran out paint? In addition while an employee was painting, others on site could have removed the piles of stones and tar on the sidewalks. And what was the supervisor doing to justify his or her pay packet?” Mills asks.

He supplied a photo (right) to illustrate what he is talking about.

Mills also pointed out that there was no direct street lighting over the speed hump to make it discernible at night — even though there were street lights some distance on either side. “It is customary to place speed humps as close as possible to, if not over these, however in this case it seems the positioning of the speed hump was randomly done,” he said.

“I hope that the work will be completed before the weekend. If a serious accident occurs while the speed hump is in its present condition I will raise merry hell I can assure you,” Mills added.

What’s up with Eskom

Murray Cowell forwarded his complaint below to The Witness after getting no response from Eskom. He said he lives in the Hilton area and pays his electricity account directly to Eskom.

Cowell said Eskom had a dual energy charge where the rate of up to 600 kw was charged at R0,8865 per kilowatt (kwh) and an energy charge of R1,4255 per kwh for over 600kw. This was a significant difference of R0,539 per kwh.

“Eskom generally estimate usage for two months and read the meter on the third month. It is my contention that either Eskom purposely underestimated the estimated usage in order that when they ‘read’ the meter there would be a significant amount of electricity to be charged at the higher rate of R1,4255 per kwh,” Cowell said.

He said this after his bill for two months totalled R6 230,37 instead of the R4 267,26 he was expecting.

“One can imagine how Eskom must be benefitting if they are purposely estimating low usage and then when reading the meter charging an excessive amount because of the differential in the tariff. My other contention is that the meter is incorrect, however, as Eskom have not replied to my e-mail I have no way of knowing about this,” said Cowell.

Warriors contacted the power utility and received the following response: “It seems that there has been some sort of misunderstanding. Eskom will gladly meet with this customer and ensure that the customer is informed accordingly.”

Cowell remains sceptical. He said he will await the Eskom reply with interest as he still does not believe that they had made a mistake. He believes this may be a “rip off” and that Eskom could be doing the same to all their customers.

“How can there be a two-tier tariff when the electricity is estimated for three or every four months? He asked.

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