Msunduzi residents claim City is charging them more

2018-06-11 17:31
Msunduzi residents find billing totals over by hundreds each month.

Msunduzi residents find billing totals over by hundreds each month. (File)

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Msunduzi’s “incorrect” billing system has again fallen under the spotlight with many residents claiming they have been overcharged by the municipality.

But as residents scratch their heads to try and make sense of incorrect and unclear bills, the City is not admitting to any crisis.

This follows an article published by The Witness last Monday highlighting the experience of businessman Solly Essa (73), who was charged R977 extra on his bill.

Ben Westscott, from Pelham, told The Witness after reading the article, he checked his statements to see if he too was being overcharged.

“I checked my statements for the past six months and I found that I was indeed being charged more than the amounts listed on my bills.

“For May the fees add up to R1428 but the bill total says its R1852. The actual amount for March was R1735 but the total on the bill was R1 946.

For the other month it added up to R1785 but the total was R1823 and another statements charges added up to R1356 but the total reflected was R1946.

“The extra charges fluctuate between R400 and R200 extra every month,” said Westscott.

He said he is unhappy about the extra charges especially because so far the City could not explain what it was for.

Westscott said he called the municipality on several occasions but no one was able to explain the extra charges to him.

“I don’t want go to the municipal offices and be sent from pillar to post like Mr Essa. I am 80 years old and I’m not willing to go there unless I know they can help me,” he said.

Antoinette Webb, also from Pelham, said she was “tired of the municipality”.

“My last utility bill was actually double what I usually pay and I just couldn’t understand why. I sent it to my son in East London and when he added it up he found that it was incorrect.

“All the charges are there, including the wonderful recycling fee which nobody knows about, but when my son calculated everything he found that I was charged double.”

She said she was frustrated after calling the municipality and being put on hold for 25 minutes.

“When I finally got through to someone I was told I got through to the wrong department and they put the phone down,” she said.

Msunduzi Municipality’s spokesperson, Thobeka Mafumbatha, said the City maintains (as it did in the previous instance) that members of the public who have concerns relating to their accounts should visit the customer services section at the A.S. Chetty building in order for the account to be explained.

“The staff there will direct the customer to the relevant section if they are unable to provide information. They may also contact 033 3922400 or billing@msunduzi.gov.za, she said.

Seven months later no refund

Commenting on The Witness Facebook page, Robin Phipson said: “I was overcharged by nearly R4000 for November electricity last year at my business premises in the CBD. I was charged for meters that are not mine and the so-called actual meter readings on the account are far higher than the readings on the meters themselves! Seven months down the line and still no refund.”

Angela George said; “Things are really getting out of control. Why is this crisis not being attended to? Seems like it’s getting worse by the day and nothing getting done. We really are ... treated like criminals for services we pay for diligently.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  utility bills

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