Frustrated residents hand council petition

2016-09-30 08:47
Prestbury ward councillor Ross Strachan (right) hands over an acknowledgment of receipt from the Speaker’s office to James Rivett-Carnac after the residents’ petition was submitted on Thursday.

Prestbury ward councillor Ross Strachan (right) hands over an acknowledgment of receipt from the Speaker’s office to James Rivett-Carnac after the residents’ petition was submitted on Thursday. (Kailene Pillay)

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The Zwartkop Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association has hand-delivered a petition to the city council, with demands for better service delivery and a regular water supply.

The petition has over 500 signatures from irate residents from the Greater Prestbury, Clarendon and Signal Hill areas.

“We have sent numerous letters and e-mails to all structures in the Msunduzi Municipality over the last few months, and this is our final straw. There are periods where we are left without water for three or more days at a time,” said James Rivett-Carnac.

Rivett-Carnac is the water liaison for the association.

He said he hoped the petition would force the municipality to initiate better communication with the residents.

“The communication has improved a bit with the water manager Brenden [Sivparsad] sending our councillor messages,” he said.

But Rivett-Carnac added that residents wanted to see “open communication” between them and the water and billing departments.

In their petition, the residents said that even taking into account restrictions due to the drought, the water supply had been “consistently poor and erratic”.

The petition reads that the city management’s balancing of the reservoirs had been “inefficient” and demanded a more consistent effort to meet their water requirements.

“The Zwartkop Valley Ratepayers Association as well as the councillor [Ross Strachan] have repeatedly asked for a meeting to discuss the way forward, and professionals have offered advice and yet the outages continue,” reads an extract from their petition.

The residents added that some residents had received “abnormally” large water bills in spite of reduced water consumption.

They believe the higher accounts are due to air in the water pipes that still turns the water meters during a water shutdown.

“We demand that the billing department of Msunduzi is made aware of these errors caused by interruptions in the water supply and that a sympathetic approach … is given to these consumers,” the petition read.

Ward councillor Strachan said he received the signed petition from the residents and had handed it over to the Speaker and municipal manager’s offices.

“The residents want action and results. The lack of communication has resulted in the communities’ frustration and a need for action,” Strachan said.

He added that the residents of the Msunduzi Housing Development in Signal Hill insisted they also wanted to sign the petition “as they too have been affected by the issue”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  petition

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