Ratepayers oppose water, power hikes

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City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM
City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM
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The Msunduzi Association of Residents and Ratepayers (MARR) has lodged an objection against the proposed hikes of water and electricity tariffs due to come into effect in July.

In its 2020/21 draft budget that is now out for public comment, Msunduzi proposes an 8,1% tariff increase for electricity and nine percent for water.

These are being passed on from the bulk service providers, Umgeni Water and Eskom, directly to consumers.

MARR chairperson Anthony Waldhausen said these proposed tariff increases come at a time when many households are in extremely difficult financial positions with any increase in monthly expenditures worsening the situation.

“We take note that National Energy Regulator of South Africa in reviewing Eskom’s retail tariff and structural adjustments application for April 2020 to March 2021, approved a 6,9% increase for municipalities from July 1, 2020.

“In view of this please could you justify why council set this increase at 8,1% for consumers within Msunduzi Municipality,” he said in his letter.

Waldhausen also wants the City to explain the basis for the proposed nine percent increase in the water tariff. He requested that Msunduzi provide detailed information on how the municipality intended to improve their process of revenue collection.

“The current decrease in the cost of oil, which affects all aspects of delivery, and is likely to do so for some time to come, suggests that the proposed tariffs require further explanation.”

In the accompanying letter addressed to municipal manager Madoda Khathide, Waldhausen suggested that the proposed rates be reconsidered and justified in line with the projected consumer price index and inflation indices.

He said the municipality must also take cognisance of the severe economic hardships being faced by many of citizens due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

He appealed for an extension to the time for public comment as many people were currently under lockdown and had not had enough time to interrogate the City’s draft budget.

Municipal spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City would not be commenting on individual objections.

“The municipality will release a compressive response once all the objections and other comments had been received and deliberated on,” she said.

•nokuthula.ntuli@witness.co.za
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