File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Residents of Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha, and Mandalay, Mitchells Plain, blockaded streets with rubble and burning tyres yesterday as they protested against the City’s water management devices.

The protesters said the devices were installed without permission.

The protest came after residents marched to Khayelitsha’s municipality offices three weeks ago and handed over a memorandum, giving officials 14 days to respond.

The area came to a standstill yesterday. The MyCiTi bus service was disrupted.

Community leader Bishop Derrick Mtsolo said: “We demand the City erase our debts, and put new meters in for us. It is not like we do not want to pay for our water bill at all but we’ve had enough of high water bills. 

"One month you would get a bill of R2 000 the next month it shoots up to R10 000. This is sad because some of the residents are pensioners and now have to take the pension money to pay.

“Some of the residences have these new meters and some do not. Some of these meters are faulty because if you take them off, they continue counting,” he said.

He said City officials installed the meters while some residents were not at home.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said: “Meter installers should not be entering a resident’s property without their knowledge. 

"If you can provide an address where this has occurred, the City will follow up with the meter installer and take corrective action.

“This being said, residents are reminded that meters belong to the City, not to the customer, and it is an offence to prevent the City from accessing its infrastructure.

“Devices will be installed under the protection of law enforcement officers when residents prevent a device from being installed.

“Please also note that conventional water meters can be replaced with water management devices without consent from the account holder where this replacement is due to age or the functionality of the meter, or otherwise forms part of the City’s meter replacement programme.

“Eventually, every meter in the City will be supplied via a water management device when it gets too old or breaks.”

Cape Times