Furious Eastwood residents ready to take action over water service

2008-04-14 00:00

THE Eastwood Community Forum (ECF) is furious and feels undermined after Msunduzi Municipality officials failed to attend a meeting where they were due to give a report on the demands raised earlier in the year about water service.

The meeting was to be held on Saturday at the Eastwood Community Hall to ascertain progress made on resolving the water provision crisis in the area.

A meeting in February was attended by Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo, who heard the community’s outcry against high bills, expensive tariffs, restricted water and the lack of free basic water.

The meeting was part of an intervention strategy by the National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (Dwaf) regulatory unit.

On Saturday, the community said they were met with a notice from ward councillor Khehlo Dladla, pinned outside the locked hall, stating the meeting would be postponed until further notice.

“Until further notice, could be next year, for all we know. We can’t talk until we are blue in the face. We are now ready to take action,” said an irritated Fred Wagner, the chairman of the ECF.

The research conducted by water lobby groups has indicated that the Msunduzi Municipality charges the highest water tariffs in the province.

One of the residents, Wendy Barnes, said it was disgusting that they had put their plans aside because they wanted to be helped, but there was no one to listen.

In response, Dladla said neither he nor the mayor could make it for the meeting, which was why it had to be rescheduled.

Dladla said he suspected that not everyone had seen the notices as they usually make community announcements through loud hailers, the newspapers and through taxi posters.

They have not finalised the new date, but it will probably be sometime this week, he said.

“It’s up to the mayor to come to the party. Our bills are the most expensive in the whole of South Africa and it is not acceptable. The municipality must start to consider that we are its citizens and it is mandated to serve us, not hurt us,” said Wagner.

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