Durban – A united Durban coalition of civil society organisations led by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is expected to march on Friday to the City Hall in protest against the eThekwini Municipality’s proposed tariff increases.
The draft budget of about R66 billion for the 2023/24 financial year makes a series of proposals which will form part of the billing structure at the start of the financial year on July 1.
The budget includes the following proposed tariff increases:
- Property rates: 8.9% increase on average.
- Water: 14.9% residential and 15.9% for business.
- Sanitation: 11.9% for residential and 12.9% for business.
- Electricity: 21.91% increase for all, subject to approval from the National Energy Regulator of SA.
- Refuse: 8% for domestic and 7-9% for sundry and business.
Ratepayer organisations from different parts of the city and non-governmental organisations are expected to participate in the march.
SDCEA spokesperson Desmond D’sa said they will be marching to hand over a memorandum to eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda asking the City to conduct a thorough review of the proposed tariff increases and their potential impact on households, especially those already struggling with unemployment and poverty.
“We also want the City to engage with Eskom and other relevant stakeholders to prioritise service delivery and find immediate solutions to reduce load shedding and improve overall reliability.
“We want them to explore options to provide compensation or relief measures for the losses incurred by households due to damaged perishable goods during power outages.”
D’sa said other demands include reinforcing the importance of fulfilling the promises made regarding free basic needs and to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are not disproportionately affected by the tariff increases.
“We are also calling for the implementation of alternative energy by moving to a Just Transition.”
D’sa said they are expecting 5 000 people at the march which will start at 9am at Speakers’ Corner on Bram Fischer Road and will make their way to City Hall.
Others included in the memorandum will be the premier, the eThekwini municipality, Eskom, Nersa and the Department of Minerals and Energy.
The Westville and Bluff ratepayer groups are threatening legal action against the municipality over the steep tariff increases.