100% water debt write-off demanded

2015-08-27 06:01

AFTER several unsuccessful attempts to get Msunduzi municipality to account for inflated water bills, the Greater Edendale Association (Gera) is demanding a 100% water debt write-off from the municipality.

Speaking on behalf of Gera, Zakhele Hlatshwayo said since 2009 they have engaged in unfruitful conversations with municipal authorities, after raising concerns that their water bills were inflated due to faulty meters.

He said the municipality has failed to honour its promise to write off water debts and start from scratch, as residents continue to be in debt, with some receiving garnishee orders.

“Since 2009 we have we engaged with the municipality about inflated water bills. Many residents in the Greater Edendale area and Imbali were receiving estimated bills due to faulty water bills. Some were twisted, buried, disconnected and untraceable.

“In 2011 the former municipal manager, Sibusiso Sithole, visited some of the affected houses in Ward 16 and there were promises to solve the matter. In 2012 we marched to the city hall to hand over a memorandum of grievances and again we were promised that our debts will be written off.

“The only success story was that of a resident who owed R740 000 - her debts was partially written off and she was left with R50 000 to pay. Residents have lost patience and we are requesting for a blanket approach instead of an individual approach,” said Hlatshwayo.

He said what angers residents the most is that there are rumours circulating that water debts have been written off for all municipal employees.

“We will only rest when they apply the 100% write-off to everyone. We are not against paying, but we will start paying once everything is transparent.”

Municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said they have met with the organisation and there was a promise to write off debts for individuals.

“We are not talking about a blanket approach. Gera does not have an account with us, individuals have accounts with us. Account holders should come to our offices so we can do a means test to determine how much we can write off.

“Gera can only engage with us if they have a power of attorney. We have already written off debts in excess of R300 million.”

Nkosi dismissed allegations that municipal employees were having their debts written off, saying that municipal employees owe about R3.3 million and the municipality is recovering R700 000 a month

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