Local wins case against municipality

2018-12-13 06:01
; John Petrelis, a well-known Jeffreys Bay businessman, was seen this week standing in front of the Jeffreys Bay municipal complex with a poster round his neck which displayed the words “Don’t let Kouga Municipality bully you and take your money unlawfully. Talk to me. Photo: SUPPLIED

; John Petrelis, a well-known Jeffreys Bay businessman, was seen this week standing in front of the Jeffreys Bay municipal complex with a poster round his neck which displayed the words “Don’t let Kouga Municipality bully you and take your money unlawfully. Talk to me. Photo: SUPPLIED

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JOHN Petrelis, a well-known Jeffreys Bay businessman, was seen this week standing in front of the Jeffreys Bay municipal complex with a poster round his neck which displayed the words “Don’t let Kouga Municipality bully you and take your money unlawfully. Talk to me.”

On being approached he revealed that he had been in the country which had been his home since he came here 57 years ago. He is a local boat builder and owner of apartments.

His battle with the municipality seems to have started when problems with tenants were experienced a couple of years ago. They did not settle their electricity accounts which had been opened in their names.

The businesses changed hands, but the accounts were not transferred to the new owners. Many of the accounts were in arrears without Petrelis’ knowledge.

According to him the accounts continued to rise, without Kouga Municipality suspending the electricity supply.

When the owners were later supplied with individual electricity meters they had to buy prepaid electricity.

The municipality then either blocked the meters, preventing the businesses from using electricity, or they deducted money from the prepaid account, forcing the businessmen to pay for someone else’s debt.

Petrelis says, “The municipality started bullying me to pay accounts that were not in my name. I had at no stage signed any agreement with them to be responsible for paying other people’s accounts. They also threatened me, saying that if I were to sell the building, they would not give me a clearance certificate.”

According to him, he went to court twice, and the municipality was ordered not to interfere with the businessman’s meters.

He wants to know why the municipality did not cut off electricity supply after the first month of non-payment. It his is opinion that there would not have been any arrear accounts if the municipality had acted timeously by suspending the supply.

Petrelis says he would like to see members of the public with the same problems to step forward, so that the matter can be discussed and resolved.

No comment could be obtained from the municipality at the time of going to print.

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