Unfair water billing

2018-07-10 06:00

It is a well-known fact that most people in the Western Cape underestimated the reality and severity of the drought in the region and were not adequately prepared for it.

The City of Cape Town, however, seems to have been the most unprepared for the serious water shortage.

One of the key indications of this is the long time it took them to start building water desalination plants.

It is, however, of great concern that as a result, many ratepayers in its municipal area have been slammed or fined with huge water bills in recent months. This is in spite of the fact that most residents have made considerable efforts to try and save water.

Some people’s water statements even reflect more than a 100% increase in the payments that are due, even though the amount of water used does not differ significantly from their average water usage.

It would also appear as if those who regularly pay their accounts in full by the due date, have been hardest hit by these high bills; probably because of their proven ability to pay their accounts. This includes people in working-class areas.

Is it fair that ratepayers literally have to pay for the inefficiencies and delays of the municipality and provincial government in developing effective contingency plans?

How long will this trend of high water charges continue? What is also of great concern are the unhelpful, ignorant and often disrespectful responses municipal officials at various service points, provide on enquiry.

Have they not been provided with sufficient training to deal with these queries? How to pay the account in full is not the issue. The real issues are the exorbitant tariffs and incorrect water billing.

Even though we still have a long way to go, the current rains are bringing much-needed relief to our city. Will this, however, also translate into any relief for ratepayers in this regard?

When will we once again see a municipal water billing system that is both accurate and fair to ratepayers? What actions or campaigns are required on the part of homeowners, to try and change this bad state of affairs?

G Contaldi Tafelsig

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