Residents march against prepaid system

2015-07-23 06:00
PHOTOS: nompendulo ngubane

Sobantu residents block the road with burning tyres.

PHOTOS: nompendulo ngubane Sobantu residents block the road with burning tyres.

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THE first day of school was marred by a Sobantu march on Monday morning.

Teachers and pupils could not get to school because the community blocked the entrance to Sobantu with burning tyres.

Residents demanded that the new prepaid electricity meters be removed from their home, saying the system is expensive, as the municipality takes 40% from every purchase of electricity.

The march was prompted because Msunduzi Municipality officials failed to attend a meeting with residents as planned on Sunday. A woman, who described herself as “an old citizen of Sobantu” said they were not told about the 40% that is being taken off.

“They introduced the system as a pilot project last year,” she said.

“The way they described the project as the pilot, we thought it will be introduced in other townships. It was not and only exists in Sobantu. The question is why? Most residents are sinking in electricity debt and the new prepaid system is going to ‘help’ in those terms.

“Debts include rates, water and electricity. What happens with the new prepaid system is that when one buys R100 electricity the municipality takes 40% of the electricity bought. According to what they tell us they have included all the water, rates and electricity debts that an individual owes. So each 40% that is being taken off from the electricity purchase is part of paying what one owes the municipality,” said the resident.

”We were shocked to learn about this from the electricity slip,” said another resident.

“The money that is being taken off differs from each individual. Sometimes when I buy R50 electricity they take R30, and that means I’m left with R20 electricity. That doesn’t last me a day. It is only the lights that work for that amount of electricity. Most households now use fire to cook.

“We make fire outside and cook using fire. We are trying to save, I’m unemployed and I can’t afford buying electricity every day. What we want is our old system back. We want this system out,” she said.

Eunice Majola and Jabu Ngubo from the Msunduzi Municipality Executive committee informed residents that the mayor was not in town.

Majola said residents had to elect 10 delegates to discuss the matter with the council yesterday, but residents refused and demanded that they bring the mayor.

Ward councillor Thandi Matiwane said there is not much she can say.

“As you can see people are not happy about the electricity.”

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