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City of Cape Town lambasted over ‘unacceptable’ municipal charges

Mayco finance member Siseko Mbandezi said the extra charges were part of the annual increase in tariffs and were required to cover the cost of providing these services. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ Afrcan News Agency (ANA).

Mayco finance member Siseko Mbandezi said the extra charges were part of the annual increase in tariffs and were required to cover the cost of providing these services. Picture: Ian Landsberg/ Afrcan News Agency (ANA).

Published Aug 3, 2022

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Cape Town - Ratepayers and residents’ associations across Cape Town, as well as lobby groups, have lambasted the City for further increases for water and electricity.

They believe these extra charges are unacceptable in the tough economic climate and a slap in the face of the poor and suffering middle class.

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However the City is adamant that its tariff and rate increases were set at the minimum of what was required to continue and expand service provision.

Mayco finance member Siseko Mbandezi said the extra charges were part of the annual increase in tariffs and were required to cover the cost of providing these services.

“The increases are: rates 5.2%, electricity 9.5% (which was Eskom-influenced), water 6.5%, sanitation 6.5%, refuse removal 5%. The City’s budget for 2022/23, including the tariff increases, underwent a public participation process ahead of it being approved by council,” Mbandezi said.

He said no profit was planned for and all income went into service delivery.

Mbandezi said residents who were struggling should get in touch with the City as assistance was available in the form of rebates or payment arrangements.

Lotus River, Ottery, Grassy Park Ratepayers and Residents Association (Logra) committee member Ursula Goss said the increased “home-user charge” on electricity and “fixed basic charge” on water was unacceptable.

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“Logra Civic called upon the City to have compassion and consider the financial hardships they bring upon the people. We demand that these extra charges be scrapped. There are many other areas in which the City can cut costs to help out poorer citizens,” Goss said.

This sentiment was echoed by the SA First Forum and Table View Ratepayers’ Association chairperson Mandy Da Matta, who said they believed that with restructuring and better management of municipal services and personnel duties the City should be able to reduce these extra costs.

“We may not be able to avoid the rising cost of daily living with increasing fuel costs and food prices but neither can the City’s municipality avoid these increases,” Da Matta said.

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SA First Forum convener Rod Solomons said the City should cancel or suspend some of its “vanity projects” to cut the surcharges on water and electricity.

Sandra Dickson, founder of civic activist group Stop CoCT, said the municipal bills had increased by more than the inflation rate year on year for many years, and the City was taking more and more from consumers’ pockets while still having budget increases year on year.

“It is a choice of putting food on the table, paying municipal bills or buying petrol for many working-class families,” Dickson said.

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Mbandezi said the largest increase of 9.5% for electricity was Eskom-driven and the City could not absorb any more of the increase as it needed to ensure sufficient revenue to continue delivering basic services.

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Cape Argus

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