Durban — EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda is expected to meet Phoenix residents over proposed tariff hikes, at Stonebridge Hall in Phoenix today (on Wednesday).
This was revealed by ward 48 IFP councillor Jonathan Annipen, who has invited all ratepayers from Phoenix and surrounding areas to attend the mayor’s hearings. Annipen has also advised them to brace themselves and participate fully in the proceedings.
Annipen said the expected tariff increases would have an enormous effect on the pockets of ordinary citizens, and will further burden the financially constrained masses of the city.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Mluleki Mntungwa, said, “The mayor of eThekwini, councillor Mxolisi Kaunda, will be involved in community engagements with the community of Phoenix, as part of his consultations with various communities around eThekwini, to solicit their input on the City’s draft budget and IDP (Integrated Development Plan), to be tabled at the council meeting at the end of May.”
The mayor will unpack the budget for the financial year ahead, and is expected to outline the proposed tariff increases.
“It is pointless criticising political parties and councillors after the budget is passed, when in actual fact as citizens we fail to participate in these processes which give us an opportunity to articulate our frustrations and concerns,” Annipen stressed.
The chairperson of eThekwini Ratepayers and Residents Association (Erra), Ish Prahladh, said residents have given the municipality a mandate to address them about the proposed tariff increases and other matters of importance.
“If the speaker continues to not acknowledge us, and gives a date when he will be addressing these issues as the city, and continues refusing to listen to us, as the ratepayers of this city, we will pursue this matter until we are heard. We have given them enough time to address these matters and provide the ratepayers with tangible answers to their questions. As the residents, we are the lifeblood of eThekwini, and the City has to hear us out this time,” Prahladh vowed.
Phoenix Civic Movement (PCM) leader Vivian Pillay said they rejected the recent proposed tariff increases from the eThekwini Municipality, stressing that it was the highest in the country. Pillay said 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. We are being traumatised and our dignity and self-respect are being stolen from us as we are struggling to put food on the table,” Pillay said.
Meanwhile, Annipen advised the residents of ward 50, Grove End that the electricity outage in Grove End was being attended to.
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