Temple’s struggle with water bill continues

2017-12-07 06:01
PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLECouncillor Johnson Chetty (front, left), Bobby Kisten and Tim Govender leave the temple after a special meeting.

PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLECouncillor Johnson Chetty (front, left), Bobby Kisten and Tim Govender leave the temple after a special meeting.

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DEVOTEES of Sivan Sabay in Verulam will have to dig deep into their pockets to pay for an outstanding water bill of more than R20 000 owed to eThekwini Municipality.

The temple received a letter from the municipality indicating that their account was in R20 204.89 arrears.

Temple president Tim Govender said they are shocked and deeply concerned about the “exorbitant water bill”.

According to Govender the municipality changed the status of the temple from domestic to commercial rates “making it harder for our religious organisation to pay the extra amount”.

Govender said over the years they never used to pay more than R1000 a month.

“I went to Durban in October to make a payment at Sizakala Centre.

The cashier told me the temple owes the municipality more than R20 000,” Govender said.

In a letter sent to eThekwini Municipality, trustees of the temple said: “We respectfully appeal a review of this billing methodology and request it be reversed to the original domestic billing.

“We are a religious and cultural organisation that is offering a service to the community of Verulam. We are non-profit organisation and are in the process of registering and applying for an NPO number.”

Govender said temple trustees were not informed about the new billing system in advance.

Govender said the temple has been paying the municipality for 30 years.

“There was no communication with us for such a long time. We had no idea that the municipality has implemented new changes in the billing system.

“We are entirely dependent on community donations. We are not a business not commercial entity. The temple is built on a site zoned religious in Verulam.

“We therefore would like the municipality to reconsider this bill. We kindly request that the municipality waiver the R20 204.89 and revert billing to domestic rates hereon.”

Trustees of the temple held a special meeting on November 9 with the ward councillor Johnson Chetty to discuss a way forward.

Chetty said he was aware of the matter and promised to investigate and contact the relevant departments.

The Weekly sent an email to eThekwini Municipality on November 16 to get answers about the situation, however, at the time of going to press nothing was forthcoming.

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