Durban – eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana has said that the City has received notification from their legal team indicating that the tariff rates hike matter has led to the City being court interdicted by the Westville Ratepayers Association (WRA).
“We understand that papers were filed in court around the issue, but the municipality has not been served with the papers. Once we receive the papers, we will determine the course of action.
“Therefore, we are not in a position to discuss this matter any further since it is subject to court processes,” Sisilana said.
This comes after the WRA took a decision to interdict the City from disconnecting services to those residents who will be embarking on a rates boycott paying for services directly to the City, instead paying the rates to a separate account that will be held in a trust by the WRA.
The WRA indicated that its court application will be heard on November 1 at the Durban High Court.
Over the past few months, a series of letters have been written to eThekwini Municipality objecting to the tariff increase, which was implemented from July 1.
Following numerous meetings with the municipality, the WRA and eThekwini Ratepayers Movement (ERPM) have remained adamant about boycotting rates.
The WRA and ERPM have served notice on the City, through the Durban High Court, to be interdicted and restrained from disconnecting municipal services as per the dispute over tariff increases, which was lodged in June.
WRA leader Asad Gaffar said: “WRA is encouraged by the enthusiasm and support for our application regarding disconnections.
“But we must make it clear, we are still in the application stage and the matter is on the ordinary roll to be heard on November 1. Should the municipality go ahead with disconnections on any of our members in the dispute, the WRA will make this application urgent.”
eThekwini Municipality mayor councillor Mxolisi Kaunda said that the refusal to pay the municipal rates and protest by the association members was illegal.
“Our mission as a City is to persuade them to work with us, because once you boycott paying your municipal rates, that is unlawful,” Kaunda said.
Meanwhile, the association has maintained that their dispute is lawful and the City cannot disconnect services while they have a dispute.
“The City cannot institute any credit control procedures if you are in arrears, you need to be in arrears for 14 days,” the WRA said.
Kaunda has had meetings with the WRA on two occasions already, and has agreed to work on the issues that have been tabled by the disgruntled WRA.
Kaunda stated: “To show that we are a listening and caring government, the council approved the revision of the electricity tariffs for 2023/24 to a 15.1% increase, as opposed to an 18.49% initially proposed by the municipality, pending the finalisation of Nersa tariffs.”
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