Durban residents, businesses set to be hit with array of tariff hikes

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Durban residents should brace themselves after the eThekwini executive council heard of proposed increases of tariffs including those for water, electricity, sanitation, and refuse.
Durban residents should brace themselves after the eThekwini executive council heard of proposed increases of tariffs including those for water, electricity, sanitation, and refuse.
PHOTO: Alfonso Nqunjana/News24
  • Durban residents could be facing an array of tariff hikes for basic services like water, electricity, sanitation, and refuse.
  • The proposed budget will see about a 5% increase for each service over the next three years.
  • Opposition parties have urged the municipality to focus on ageing infrastructure after most of the city has been hit by crippling unplanned water and electricity cuts in recent months.

Durban residents are set to feel the pinch if the eThekwini executive council gets the green light to implement proposed tariff increases for water, electricity, sanitation, and refuse.

The eThekwini exco on Thursday heard proposals for increases in key tariffs that will affect the pockets of ratepayers and residents.

The City has in recent months been hit by crippling electricity and water cuts and opposition parties are urging the council to pay more attention to infrastructure.

One of the proposed increases, over the next three years, is for water tariffs to increase by 5.9% in the 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial years for residential properties.

For businesses, it is proposed that water tariffs increase by 9% over three years. Electricity would increase by 8.61% in 2022/23, 5.6% in 2023/24, and 4.7% in 2024/25. Sanitation is set to increase for residential property by 5.9% for the next three years until the 2024/25 financial year. The same would apply for three years for business, but at 9%.

Refuse was also set to increase by 4.5% in 2022/23 and 9.9% in 2023/24 and 2024/25. Business refuse would increase by 7.9% for all three years.

'Infrastructure challenges'

ANC councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo said the party would be voting in support of the draft budget.

"We believe the outcome of the consultation period will lend us a people's budget that is pro-poor, seeking to attend to challenges facing our communities in terms of service delivery.

"It will seek to fix the infrastructure challenges of the past in terms of our municipality.

He said:

The budget seems substantial. Although it will not be enough for all challenges facing us, it will go a long way to addressing challenges of the poor in the metro.

The DA called for genuine participation from the public on the budget.

"Over the years the budget has not been participatory. We decide the budget and say to the public this is what it is. We need to change tactics and engage with communities, and it is critical in winning peoples trust," DA councillor Nicole Graham said.

Stop using excuses

Her second concern was the prioritisation of infrastructure.

"Our electricity and water networks cannot continue with the unplanned cuts. No matter what political party we are in, we have not supported the budget in a long time but would like to have one we can support if it addresses the concerns of the people.

"If we don't address infrastructure issues, it will be too late."

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the municipality had to stop using the excuse that the "imbalances of the past" were stalling service delivery.

Nkosi said: 

We cannot keep using imbalances of the past. In our time, we must utilise what we have profitably. Aging infrastructure is something we have to address. The question is what have we done as current and previous council? I would like to see us ensuring that collapsing infrastructure is attended to and the budget is spent properly.

"We are talking billions, but people don’t feel they are in a city talking about billions."

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