Angry Cape residents to march against proposed tariffs rise
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Several groups have voiced their outrage at the City’s proposed increase in municipal charges. Punitive charges for water and sanitation have also increased and if the proposed R49billion budget is to be approved electricity consumers will pay a flat R150 rate before using any electricity.
Sandra Dickson, founder of the STOP COCT group, said the increases have not been justified and puts the pressure on water-saving residents. Dickson and other activists have also established a website portal that receives and collates comments on the proposed budget. So far, more 17000 have commented on the budget.
“A total of 99% of the comments are really bad. There is a clear frustration from all residents across the city. It is really unjustified for people to pay so much money for the failure of the government; it is immoral,” Dickson said.
“There are people who have spent millions of rand on water-saving measures. There are also people sitting with massive rates accounts that they cannot pay. It is so wrong; we cannot allow the City to abuse the ratepayers like this. By law, the City has to consider the comments we hand over to them. People are fed up with the City and residents will have to stand together,” she said.
Anne Smith, a member of the group, said a protest march for Friday has been approved. “We have applied for 3000 people, but only on the day of the protest will we know what the outcomes are. We are having the protest on Friday 13th and we hope there is very little luck for the City and their plans,” she said.
Charmen Gribi, a community activist from Elsies River, said the community supports a protest against the increase in municipal services tariffs.
“The residents of Cape Town were never consulted over this budget. If there was consultation it was very poorly done. They should have gone to residents first and ask for comments on the impact of tariff increases. We are already paying extra VAT, but we cannot pay more for the most essential services. That is just inhumane. There are people who simply cannot afford it and the City appears to simply not care,” Gribi said.
Philipp Bam, secretary of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, has said they will be opposing the tariff increases using the provided channels.
Yonela Diko, ANC provincial spokesperson, said: “The ANC will always support civic groups and issues that affect hard-working ratepayers. We are fully behind the groups as we believe the City’s proposed budget is anti-poor and borders on consumer abuse,” he said.
Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the City will face more resistance as the water issue is a massive crisis.
Mayoral committee member for finance Johan van der Merwe said the comment period for the 2018/19 draft budget is underway. “We welcome constructive and reasonable comments and peaceful legal gatherings.”
Residents have until May 4 to comment.@JasonFelix