uMgungundlovu hikes water rate

2013-06-03 00:00

UMGUNGUNDLOVU District Municipality has increased its water tariff by 11%.

Presenting his budget speech on Friday, district mayor Yusuf Bhamjee said the municipality had no choice but to set the increase because the Treasury department had pointed out that the existing tariffs were too low.

Bhamjee said that currently the district was subsidising water to the tune of R6,22 per kilolitre for all its customers. Residents affected will be those who live in uMngeni, uMshwathi, Richmond, Mkhambathini, Mpofana and Mpendle.

The good news for residents of uMshwathi is that some of the R400 million capital budget will go to sort out the water problems in the area.

The Witness had reported that uMshwathi residents have had ongoing water problems since December. Similarly there is money in the budget to complete the upgrade of the decommissioned Mpophomeni waste water treatment plant. The R30 million-project was first announced in 2008 and has been carried out in different phases. Once completed it will solve the problem of overflowing sewage in the Howick area. It will also handle increased effluent from the new housing developments being established in uMngeni.

Bhamjee, in his budget speech, said that frail infrastructure had contributed to unexpected costs that the municipality had to budget for. He added that the district had secured a loan facility with the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) which will be used as municipal infrastructure grant-front-loading to accelerate the implementation of projects.

Another major project to be undertaken by the district municipality in the new financial year is the upgrade and improvement of water infrastructure along the corridor from Mkhambathini to Mpofana Municipality.

The Democratic Alliance did not support the budget as it felt the water tariffs should have been set at eight percent. The party also felt that more money should have gone to disaster management. Bhamjee responded that setting the tariffs was part of a widespread consultation process, of which the DA was part.

DA district budget spokesperson Mike Bond said residents were critical of having to contend with burst water and sewage pipes.

He reminded residents that the water services were managed by individual municipalities and only became a district function two years ago.

Bond said the Democratic Alliance would also like to see a more effective meter audit carried out to establish a correct consumer base, as well as improved and efficient consumer care centres which would also enhance revenue collection.

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