Ugu Municipality very unreliable

2016-02-25 06:00

I REFER to the reports “Municipality fails resident on promises – resident waits eight months for her account to be adjusted” and “Water leak finally attended to – after a month” (Fever 18 February).

My experiences and those of countless others underline the extent of the problem and, to a large degree, explain our water restrictions. The crux of the problem is that Ugu and HCM staff generally have no work ethic, which of course is a failing of the entire government.

When a water leak occurs on municipal property, repairs are very poorly carried out, often after many months of huge water loss. The infrastructure is not being maintained, and an obvious result of this is that there will be many leaks in the system.

After the inflated salaries of a bloated and inefficient workforce are drawn from the public coffers, little is left for maintenance. Consequently the cost of water is raised, not to undertake the maintenance required, but to keep the staff in their sheltered employment. How much more wastage of water, resources and money does Ugu think the hard-pressed ratepayers can bear?

A worker, who sees a water leak and ignores it, as alleged in the report, has no moral right to his job.

When a water leak occurs on private property and is not due to negligence of the owner, the property owner is not obliged to pay for the water lost. However, Ugu’s system ensures that the ratepayer is nevertheless forced to pay the often very large sum to cover the cost of the loss.

The rule is supposed to be that the money paid to Ugu for the lost water will be credited - not returned - after three months. To my knowledge, the ratepayer cannot rely on Ugu staff to credit the money to the account.

I have supplied a plumber’s report and an affidavit as required by Ugu and in spite of many attempts to get the promised credit, it was never paid. After several years I gave up and wrote off about R12 000 to Ugu. This was perhaps 10 years ago. What has changed?

Ugu spokesperson France Zama says: “To ensure that the leak has been properly repaired and to establish the customer’s average usage we monitor the account. After three months or three consecutive readings the adjustment is passed.”

Firstly, in the case reported, Ugu required that the customer herself read the meter and email the information to Ugu. Why is the customer expected to work for the municipality which it pays exclusively to run the water supply system?

Secondly, why is the average reading not taken from the customer’s readings during the three months preceding the leak?

Please Zama, don’t expect us to believe that demanding and holding the customer’s money for three months after the leak repair is “to ensure it is properly repaired”.

Captive Customer

Why is the average reading not taken from the customer’s readings during the three months preceding the leak? Please Zama, don’t expect us to believe that demanding and holding the customer’s money for three months after the leak repair is “to ensure it is properly repaired

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