Durban - Residents who have not been receiving their blue garden refuse bags from eThekwini Municipality are calling for the city to rectify the problem or give them a full refund.
Residents who have paid for the bags and who have not received them live in areas including Durban North, Manor Gardens, Merebank, Hillcrest and Malvern.
The municipality has very stringent rules around the way residents dispose of their refuse.
Black bags are used for household rubbish, orange bags for recyclable material and blue bags are offered at an extra cost to residents to dispose of garden refuse.
However, some residents said they had not received their blue bags from Durban Solid Waste (DSW) for the past three months, but had been charged for them.
The bags were delivered to residents who elected to receive them for an additional fee of R66.70, excluding VAT, which is added to their municipal bill.
The blue bags are available for purchase at some petrol stations, retail chain stores and nurseries.
“I refuse to go and buy them when I already paid the municipality for the bags to be delivered to my home. If we are R100 short on our electricity bill, they will cut us off, but now we are paying them for something that we are not getting,” said Clive Arthur from Durban North.
Arthur said he contacted the municipality to query the matter last month, but had not received any response.
Another Durban North resident, Michelle Koukourakis, said she was frustrated with contacting the municipality to query the matter.
“I eventually bought it from the store. It is very unfair because I paid for this service already, yet I am left to buy the bags. I wonder how many people are using this service and have been charged for the bags without receiving them?” Koukourakis said.
The DA has written to city manager Sipho Nzuza to demand his intervention in the matter, and to request refunds on all bills of those who had not received the bags that they had been charged for.
The DA’s caucus leader in eThekwini, Nicole Graham, said they were “deeply frustrated” with the continuing woes regarding the blue garden refuse bags.
She said that after councillors had received numerous complaints from residents, the matter had been raised with DSW, but it had still not been resolved.
“If DSW is unable to supply the bags, which are not an ordinary service and are at an additional cost, then the cost of the bags must be taken off the resident’s bill. It is ridiculous to continue to charge residents for a service that the city knows it is not delivering,” Graham said.
The municipality did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.