The City’s lowered tariff increases in municipal services have been resoundingly welcomed, but civic groups are still alarmed by the high electricity prices and salary increases.
Cape Town - The City’s lowered tariff increases in municipal services have been resoundingly welcomed, but civic groups are still alarmed by the high electricity prices and salary increases.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Janine Myburgh said she welcomed the City’s decision to drastically reduce the proposed increases in water tariffs in its draft budget.

However, she believes the City can do even better.

RELATED: Cape Town council bins planned 55% water tariff hike

Acting mayor Ian Nielson announced on Monday that the overall increase in water tariffs has been reduced from 26.9% to 19.9% after complaints in a record 40000 “comments” on the budget from the public.

The City also scrapped its plans for punitive water tariff increases of 55.16% for households which consume less than 6kl a month. The new tariff increase for this consumption bracket will be 10.10%.

“What we cannot understand is how the City could ever have contemplated imposing these tariff increases on a population that has done an incredible job in saving water and investing in water-saving equipment, grey water systems and rainwater tanks to ensure future savings,” said Myburgh.

“I think this shows that both officials and councillors are out of touch with the paying public.”

The draft budget proposed a 55.16% increase in the tariffs for people using less than 6kl of water a month. This has now been reduced to 10.1%.

“If the City can do this now, why did it not do so in the draft budget? We can only speculate that they did not try hard enough and that is a shocking indictment of both officials and councillors.

"They are simply too focused on extracting revenue from the public rather than reducing their own costs,” Myburgh said.

Savings could be realised if officials and councillors stop playing politics.

“The place to start is those high pay increases for top management that will take the remuneration packages of directors to a staggering R3.2million a year.”

Sandra Dickson, founder of the group STOP COCT, said if the first budget was Patricia de Lille’s budget, the adjusted one is Neilson's budget.

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Cape Argus