Cape Town single mom gets shocking water bill of R220 000

2018-10-02 15:44
PHOTO: Getty images/Gallo images

PHOTO: Getty images/Gallo images

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An unemployed single mom recently received a municipal water bill of R220 000 – and had to live virtually without running water in her home for almost two months.

Amanda Collins (52) from Montrose Park in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, says she noticed in September 2017 that she and her daughter (14) were suddenly using a lot more water than usual.

Before, her monthly water bill was about R300 but because the usage, according to the municipality, had shot up so drastically she eventually fell behind with payments – at one stage owing about R3 000.

Upon further investigation she noticed the water meter on her property was showing water usage even when the stopcock to the house was turned off.

“There must’ve been a leak somewhere,” Amanda says. She registered the fault at the municipal offices in Lentegeur.

But it took a few more trips to various municipal offices before workers finally arrived at her property. She says they didn’t “investigate thoroughly”.

She was unable to find the leak on her own property. Amanda and her neighbours share a municipal water valve on the pavement outside their properties and they were eventually forced to open the lid themselves.

“The leak was at the outside water valve, in the pipe that leads to my house. So the leak was on municipal property,” Amanda says. 

Municipal workers fixed the leak in the pavement in July this year. But that didn’t stop the City of Cape Town from sending Amanda a water bill for R220 419 in August. And on 6 August, the water pressure to her home was turned down to almost nothing.

“We put a bucket under the tap to catch the drip and use that water. We could only flush the toilet three times a day,” Amanda says.

She maintains the water bill isn’t her responsibility because the leak had been on municipal property.

Luthando Tyhalibongo, spokesman of the City of Cape Town, told YOU the incident was investigated.

“The City received previous notifications of leaks on the private property. But we also received notifications of leaks in the municipal infrastructure and the City fixed that leak,” he says.

Leaks on private property are the owner’s responsibility, Tyhalibongo says.

“But we’ve suggested her bill be adjusted for the duration of the specific leak, giving the client the benefit of the doubt.”

The City also turned up Amanda’s water pressure again and, after nearly two months, she finally has water in her home again.

 

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