Residents to ‘cough up’ for drought levy

2016-11-01 06:00
Community angered as drought levy puts burden on households. Photo: Kalisha Naicker

Community angered as drought levy puts burden on households. Photo: Kalisha Naicker

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THE eThekwini Municipality’s decision to implement drought levies across the province to encourage people to save water has been hotly rejected by the Upper Highway community.

According to residents they feel this is a slap in the face and this levy adds to the burden of already struggling household incomes.

Sheila Somers of Botha’s Hill said she understands the water situation is dire and the lack of rainfall is not helping, however, she asks why must residents cough up money they simply do not have.

“We do need help. There is no doubt about it, we do not need help in one hand while there's another hand in our back pocket pulling it out.

“If the prices of daily commodities, including our rates and taxes had to drop, we could afford this added levy, but as it stands we just cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is the municipality trying to put its residents into a bad debt situation?”

Kloof’s Andrea Mitchell said she also opposes the levy. “What infuriates me is that the municipality just does as it pleases and we are meant to accept it.

“We pay for the water we use, now why must a levy be added to this. A few months ago we had people coming around reducing the pressure on our waterlines, in addition we have had numerous water disruptions since then. Now we must pay for essentials we sometimes do not even have. This is unnecessary. Our government/ municipality needs to find other ways to save water,” she added.

eThekwini head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa said the municipality has objected to the implementation of a drought levy, however, the levy has already been approved by the national Department of Water and Sanitation.

She said the levy is to encourage people to save water, otherwise the province will be heading towards a worse situation than we are currently in.

“The levy was implemented from 1 September, however, we are still finalising a report that will be presented to council to determine if we will be implementing the same drought levy to customers.

“It is premature at this stage to give any further details because no decisions have been made in this regard,” she added.

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