PMB meter readers support colleague in alleged abuse case

2014-08-07 00:00

MORE than 55 Msunduzi meter readers were in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday, instead of out reading meters in what is usually their busiest time of the month.

They were in court to support a colleague who had charged a Maritzburg resident with crimen injuria.

They said they were there to send a strong message to residents to stop abusing them.

Meter reader Thulisile Mkhize alleged that she went to resident Priscilla Harris’s house in Northdale to read the meter and was chased out and called a “bitch” and other derogatory names.

Harris in turn alleged that Mkhize arrived on her property and, although the meters were on the outside, she stepped through the door and into her house.

At this point she was asked to identify herself. When Mkhize allegedly refused to identify herself, she was told to leave.

It is believed that both women have laid charges against each other.

The case was adjourned until August 26 for statements to be obtained.

Harris, a council employee, was fired by the municipality over alleged corruption involving about R2 000 a few years ago. She appealed her case and won. The municipality in turn appealed and the matter is currently before the Labour Court.

Mkhize’s colleagues, who arrived in court by 8 am, toyi-toyied outside while some sat waiting inside the courtroom. They only left when the matter was adjourned at 11 am.

Outside court, some meter readers carried placards that read: “Consumers must stop abusing us. We are doing our jobs please.”

Thobelani Ndlovu told The Witness that they work under difficult circumstances.

“We are chased away by consumers. Some set their dogs on us,” he said.

Lethi Mshengu pleaded that they be allowed to do their jobs and that they be treated with dignity.

“If you have a meter at your house, please allow us to read it. We are doing our work and consumers should remember that these meters are the property of the municipality,” Mshengu said.

The municipality was asked whether the meter readers had permission to be in court yesterday, but there was no response by the time of going to press.

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