Richmond, council at odds over water bills

2015-07-01 09:30
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RICHMOND residents who owe thousands of rands in their water bills have taken the uMgungundlovu ­District Municipality to task for the “incorrect” billing.

A meeting on Monday between residents and a municipal task team to deal with the billing crisis became heated, with one resident saying the municipality’s service “sucked”.

They claimed their meters had not been read correctly and in some cases vacant stands with no meters were billed thousands of rands.

Some residents allegedly have water bills of between R30 000 and R90 000.

It was not specified how the residents had accumulated such large amounts, but some had not paid their bills for years because of meter faults and bills not being sent.

Members of the task team informed the residents of measures the municipality was taking to ease their debts.

These include getting a portion of the debt written off if they paid a certain amount of their current water debt.

If residents paid 50% of the debt, the remaining 50% would be written off.

Residents could also sign an acknowledgement of debt and pay their debts over a certain period of time.

The residents who challenged the municipality were not convinced.

They did not give their names.

“It’s all good and well to sign an acknowledgment of debt, if you have a debt,” said one resident.

“I do not have a debt as I have been paying my water bill. I read my own meter but I have been given a debt of R1 000,” she said.

Another said, “I have a bill of R5 000 on a vacant property that has no meter.”

They criticised the district municipality of providing poor service, citing regular water interruptions and rude staff as serious problems.

“You must audit your water ­meters first and make sure they function properly, before you can demand any payment from us,” said another resident.” Others called for those who incorrectly read water meters to be fired and for the current water bills to be written off.

Municipal official Mbali Mwandla said the municipality prides itself in ensuring high standards of service delivery. She said there would be further announcements relating to the water debts. She said customers should report ill-mannered ­behaviour to the customer care ­co-ordinator at 033 897 6700 or molefet@ umdm.gov.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

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