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Pensioner's R42 000 water bill shock

South Africa
Cape Town – A Manenberg pensioner is tired of fighting with the City of Cape Town, after they slapped her with a R42 000 bill for a water leak under her house.

Shirley Woolgar, 72, would normally pay R400 a month for her water, but since August last year, her bill has skyrocketed from R400 to R5 000, and then to R10 000 in December.

“Nee, God, wat gaan aan met die Council?” Shirley said when she kept seeing her water bill increasing. (“No, God, what is going on with the Council?”)

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A Manenberg pensioner is tired of fighting with the City of Cape Town, after they slapped her with a R42 000 bill for a water leak under her house. Picture: Bertram Malgas
Shirley Woolgar 72, indicates that her water bills have amounted to almost R42 000. Picture: Bertram Malgas


As the account balance kept growing, the pensioner could not keep up with the payments.

Last week, the City cut the water and electricity to her Manenberg Avenue house after she hadn’t paid her utility bill.

Fortunately, a relative paid for a plumber, who dug a trench under the living room and repaired the leaking pipe.

The angry woman says: “It wasn’t my fault, there was a leak under my house. These are old pipes, why am I being billed for water I didn't waste?”

The rent office has since reconnected her water and power, but Shirley pleads: “I just want the City to scrap the bill. I am living in debt and can’t afford to pay for this leak.”

Mayoral Committee Member councillor Johan van der Merwe confirmed the leak.

Van der Merwe said: “It is suspected that the high account is the result of a leak on the customer’s plumbing that she has allowed to run. The City is working with the resident to resolve the issue. Residents are reminded that they have a legal responsibility to maintain their property’s plumbing to prevent avoidable water waste and are financially liable for water lost through leaks on their property.”

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