Msunduzi municipality in hot water over bills

2014-01-27 12:01
(<a href=''>Shutterstock</a>)


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - The Msunduzi municipality is courting more billing controversy - this time over water accounts.

Getting ready to do battle over the accuracy of their bills are the poorest in the city. Most are on social welfare grants of R1?200 and are sitting with water bills ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of rands.

The figures were revealed in their January accounts when they received consolidated figures on their latest bills.

For many it seemed a joke seeing figures as high as R35?000, R50?000 and more on their accounts. Imbali resident Jabu Danisa, who lives in an RDP house, received a water bill of R700?000.

The seriousness of the situation hit home last week when the municipality disconnected pre-paid electricity meters to force the occupants of RDP houses to pay their outstanding water accounts.

People go to loan sharks for reconnections

The disconnections were carried out in sections of Cinderella Park, Woodlands, Copesville and Imbali.

Mildred Mothlawane, who lives with her grandson in Cinderella Park Phase One, used the R500 left from her grant, which was earmarked to buy food, to pay for the reconnection. She said her grandson gets food at school, but she has had nothing to eat except black tea and mealie meal.

Mothlawane had some money because she budgets wisely. She knows of neighbours who have been going to loan sharks for money to get reconnected.

Nondeka Zuma, of Woodlands, used the money she put aside to send her daughter to college to get her pre-paid meter reconnected. Her daughter’s education was her hope of getting out of poverty.

Now she is unsure if she will be able to educate her child further.

Indigent policy

On Sunday, residents of Cinderella Park met to try and find a way out of the quagmire. There was much anger and suspicion over how the municipality arrived at its figures.

The meeting heard of houses with no water meters, broken meters and years of estimations.

Residents blamed the municipality’s dropping of the indigent policy when it went under administration for causing their problems. From paying R30 and R40 on their water bills, they started receiving bills of R300, R400 and more during the administration period.

The indigent policy was later re-instated, but despite undertakings by previous councils that the debts would be wiped out, they never were and remain on their accounts, accumulating interest.

Candace Naidoo said a letter from the labour department, saying that she was unemployed, did not move municipal officials, who demanded their money.

“I have a neighbour in mourning who can’t bury her child because she has no money, because she had to pay to get her electricity reconnected,” Naidoo said.

Task team

Judy Maharaj said the joke was that their electricity was cut because of their water accounts. Now all they are doing is paying to get power reconnected, but the high water bill stands.

“I haven’t contributed one cent to the R35?000 I am supposed to owe for water. How and when am I expected to pay for this?” Maharaj asked.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said a task team was meeting to look at the issues raised by the communities disputing their bills.

He added that municipalities were between a rock and a hard place as they had to collect revenue to carry out service delivery. - The Witness

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  service delivery  |  water

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 10:15 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS approaching Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.