The DA said the petition would soon be presented to the city’s council to justify the lowering of the proposed tariffs. The proposed 2019/20 tariff increases is 15% for water and 14.4% for electricity.
Sanitation and refuse are both expected to increase by 9.9%.
“Clearly, the proposals are against the wishes of the people. We have had more than 2500 people signing the online petition, and dozens more have signed hard copies.
“During a public signing, I had people come from far and wide during their lunch break to sign the petition, which shows the frustration of people,” said Martin Meyer, ward councillor in Morningside.
The petition states that residents can’t afford the proposed rates due to additional burdens such as increases to fuel, electricity and household goods.
Meyer said the proposed tariff increases should be in line with inflation, which is roughly 4.5%.
“The truth is that people are suffering from constant hikes in petrol and food costs, and now they face an even steeper increase to things like water and electricity which people need to live,” he said.
“The council needs to be reasonable in their increases.”
In its latest monthly food basket price index, the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group said the cost of a trolley of basic food items was just over R3000.
The items include maize meal, rice, eggs, bananas, tea and jam.
As the municipal budget will only be finalised by the end of next month, Meyer urged residents to register their concerns about the proposed tariff increases using the link https://forms.gle/TXptvbAh1KbCS3T18 to sign the online petition.
eThekwini Municipality had not responded to a request for comment by the time of going to press.