Durban — The civic organisations and ratepayers’ associations of Chatsworth will stage a civil protest march to the Durban City Hall on Friday to protest against the impending tariff increases to take place in July.
The marchers are expected to assemble at Bram Fischer Road and head to the city hall, where they will hand over a list of grievances to eThekwini and KZN Premier’s Office officials, march organiser Desmond D’Sa confirmed.
eThekwini region community activist Yugen Moodley said the proposed tariff hikes will have a negative impact on the lives of residents.
“The residents must expect to fork out an average R2 000 extra for these tariff increases, money that many can ill afford. The cost of living is escalating, many people are not working, and some have been retrenched,” Moodley said.
Moodley said even though the protest action is organised by Chatsworth residents, all ratepayers in eThekwini are requested to support it in order to show the municipality that people have had enough of corruption, incompetence, nepotism and politics, and it is time the ratepayers hold the municipality accountable, otherwise there will be huge consequences.
“It is clear that the 26 000 workforce is not adding any value to the municipality, and even the mayor stated in the media reports that most of eThekwini officials are lazy,” stated Moodley.
“The municipality needs to cut their ‘entertainment’ budget, prevent looting and corruption, and no salary increases for underperforming officials and departments,” Moodley stressed.
Meanwhile, oThongathi residents are angry that the eThekwini municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda did not attend the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and budget public participation meeting on Sunday.
DA eThekwini exco member councillor Yogis Govender said the community came prepared to air their grievances. Govender said the Verulam IDP meeting was also postponed recently. Govender said the DA has a resounding mandate from residents of eThekwini to reject these tariffs. Close to 10 000 people have filed objections with the DA opposing the unaffordable increases.
“The budget tabled was equally disappointing, with no money going towards rectification of the water, bulk network, or for sewer infrastructure in the area, which meant that sewer and water woes in the area will persist indefinitely. All this while the ruling party seeks approval for an increase in tariffs,” Govender said.
The Phoenix Civic Movement (PCM) hosted a peaceful solidarity march in April to raise awareness about the pending municipal tariff increases.
PCM leader Vivian Pillay rejected the proposed tariff increases, stressing that it was the highest in the country. He added that there has been no broad consultation and consensus with ratepayers and civic organisations.
“The people of Phoenix are burdened with high estimated lights and water bills which they are struggling to settle every month,” Pillay said.
Municipality spokesperson Lindiwe Khuzwayo said the concerns about the proposed increases had been noted.
“We would like to remind residents that this is the period of public consultation. Citizens and stakeholders are encouraged to raise their views about the proposed increases, so they can be considered before the budget approval in May/June,” she said.
“It is also important to note that as much as inflation levels are a key factor in deciding tariff increases, they are not the only factor to influence the decision. Other factors are considered during the process of budget preparation, which include maintenance and ensuring that services will be delivered efficiently to all. The increases are also a necessity to recover from a series of disasters that the city has experienced within the past three years,” she added.
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