Water woes for some residents

2015-11-03 06:00
Jimmy Xalipi, a KenFac community leader, blames the City of Cape Town for local water problems. “If they say they will scrap the water bill why are people still getting the bills?” he asks. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Jimmy Xalipi, a KenFac community leader, blames the City of Cape Town for local water problems. “If they say they will scrap the water bill why are people still getting the bills?” he asks. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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A few residents in Factreton and Kensington say the City of Cape Town is taking them for a ride.

They claim the City promised to scrap their water bills if they installed a water management device.

But it has led to nothing but a headache for them. Despite having the device installed they still get a bill with the same amount that they owed before, some of the residents claim.

Kensington resident Leoni van der Westhuizen says she didn’t have water for months despite filing all the necessary documentation.

“Life has been unbearable. We have to go for months without water. The City said they put the device in but it looks like nothing was done.

“When I went to enquire they told me that my bill would be scrapped, but none of that was done. So what’s the point of installing the water management device when you will still owe them money and you don’t even have the water?” she says.

Soraya Alexander, a Factreton resident, says she had her device installed in 2013 and applied for an indigent grant, but to her surprise she still gets a bill.

“They keep saying it has been scrapped but every month I get the bill. It’s so frustrating. I thought taking the device would make life much easier,” she says.

Jimmy Xalipi, a KenFac community leader, says: “I have taken more than 25 people to the City to query their water bills but nothing was done.

“If they say they will scrap the water bill why are people still getting the bills? Most of the people have done all the documentation required by the City, but still it hasn’t helped. They must stop taking our people for granted and sort out this mess. People need water and they shouldn’t lie to them,” he says.

Ward councillor Lisa Mcbride says people need to be re-educated on the water management device.

“There is a problem with the device and people don’t really understand how it works. There are glitches and at times the debt is partially erased. With some it can be reinstated, depending on what was agreed and how you kept that commitment.

“I get numerous complaints from people saying they don’t have water. People don’t fully understand how it works and that has to be addressed,” she says.

Mcbride encourages residents to make use of the free landlines at the Factreton community centre and Kensington civic centre if they want to enquire anything with the City.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, says the debt write-off after a resident takes on a water management device is only applicable to indigent customers.

After investigating a few residents’ complaints Sonnenberg says one of them lives on a property which is valued at more than R300 000 and therefore does not qualify for a write-off.

Another resident’s arrears were written off last year, but seems to have been using a lot of water periodically since then. He says the meter will be investigated.

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