Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

#EveryDropCounts: 'Ian Neilson's letter is a masterpiece of obfuscation'

By Brian Joss Time of article published Jul 23, 2018

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Deputy mayor of Cape Town Ian Neilson is correct when he says “Water tariffs are not a cash cow for the City”, Cape Argus, July 11. But the council is using the ratepayers as a cash cow, and evidently, he along with his fellow councillors, believe that we have bottomless pits of cash.

According to Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the City of Cape Town has been charging ratepayers for water far above the inflation rate since 2009. During the past decade there have been regular above inflation increases in the City’s property rates and tariffs despite the improved efficiencies offered by modern technology.

In 2009 the official CPI (Consumer Price Index) increased by 7.1% while the water tariff increased by 11.7%; In 2010 CPI was 4.3% but water tariffs increased by 10%; in 2011 the CPI was 5% and water increased by 8.28%; in 2012 the CPI was 5.6%, water increased by 15.08%; in 2013 the CPI was 5.7% and water increased by 11.28%; in 2014 the CPI was 6.1%, water increased by 9.53%; in 2015 when the CPI was 4.6%, water increased by 11% and in 2016 the CPI was 6.8%, water increased by 9.75%,” Ms Myburgh noted. The CPI is used to measure inflation based on a basket of goods that South Africans buy.

Neilson’s letter is a masterpiece of obfuscation. He is blaming the central government for the water restrictions that are in place and obliquely for the punitive tariffs. Is he implying that the central government advised the Mother City to impose those new water rates? I don’t think so. It was the DA’s initiative. Perhaps Neilson can explain why they have to get the government’s permission to lower the water tariffs. When they didn’t ask the government if they could raise them. The only good thing that has come out of the DA’s mismanagement of the crisis is that most of us are more careful with our water usage.

Meanwhile, if Neilson does respond to this letter could he please tell us the reasoning behind the R150 flat surcharge on our electricity meters if our properties are valued above R1million or whatever arbitrary figure the City decided on.

* Brian Joss, Milnerton.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus

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