Task team formed to deal with sewer charges

2017-07-05 06:00

 

A MEETING between the iLembe District Municipality and the KwaDukuza business community regarding the change in the sewer tariff calculation method resulted in the formation of a task team on Thursday to take the matter forward.

The business community has been enraged by the change in the calculation method as it will see their sewer bills increase by hundreds, and for many, thousands of rands.

The new system, which will come into effect on July 1, will see charges for sewer services be calculated according to property valuation as opposed to the current calculation according to usage method.

Addressing the business people, iLembe mayor Siduduzo Gumede said before approval of the budget a number of community meetings must be held to gather the concerns of the people.

“Fourteen such meetings were held for this budget and at those meetings this was not raised. The community did however, say previously that the current method was too costly and we then changed the charge from 70% of the usage to 50%. This was still a problem and people were not paying, our debt book increased and collections decreased. This is why we decided to revert to the valuation method. We have had to change it to make it more affordable to those consumers who use the service.”

He explained that the bulk of the cost was lumped on residential properties with “domestic consumers subsidising businesses”.

He also stated that properties valued at less than R130 000 will be exempt from sewer charges and there will now be no basic charge for the service and all users will pay a flat rate. He also said that some residents would even pay less that they were previously through this system.

Despite the mayor’s claims, the business people were not convinced that the structure is fair.

According to the new structure the billing will be calculated the same way it was in 2013/2014 with the additional 10% increase.

iLembe chief financial officer Emmanuel Ngcobo explained that properties valued at R5 million and more will pay a capped rate of R6 200.

He also stated that he was in possession of a breakdown and would be happy to share it and explain the methods to those who wanted more information.

However, this did not sit well with the business people, with Shain Manjoo raising the concern that his bill on one of his properties will increase from approximately R1 700 which he pays now according to usage, to R6 200 according to valuation.

Another concern raised by Praveen Singh was: “If a property valued at R1 million will pay R375 how does the calculation of R6 200 come about for a property of R5 million. Would it not be R375 multiplied by five to give you the amount? How is it calculated? We can accept the system of using valuation but we cannot accept the randage.”

Finally a task team was formed to engage with the district municipality to find a way forward that will be mutually beneficial.

In the meantime, the new system will still come into effect on July 1 for all consumers.

If a property valued at R1 million will pay R375 how does the calculation of R6 200 come about for a property of R5 million. Would it not be R375 multiplied by five to give you the amount? How is it calculated? We can accept the system of using valuation but we cannot accept the randage.

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