File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Calls mount for City of Cape Town to lower water tariff

By Bulelwa Payi Time of article published Oct 18, 2020

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Cape Town - Civic organisations have urged the City of Cape Town to reassess the water tariff structure as the city currently enjoys an “abundance” of water.

The City has indicated that it was considering implementing a “no restriction, or water-wise tariff”.

But home and business owners have been warned that it would not be a significant reduction in the water tariffs.

Mayco member for water and sanitation Xanthea Limberg said the costs of providing water were high and consumption was currently “suppressed”.

“This limits how much the City would be able to drop the tariff,” Limberg said.

She said the no-restriction water tariff would provide “slight relief” to its estimated 670000 customers if implemented, adding that the amount of tariff relief would need to be balanced against “extra resources” required to develop new water sources.

Under the current level 1 water restrictions, customers are charged R17.92 for consumption of up to 6 kilolitres of water and R22.40 for sanitation services between 4.2 and 7.35kl.

If the restriction levels were to be dropped to 0, the saving for up to 6kl of water consumption would translate to 55c and R1.43 for sanitation.

For the customers who currently use up to 15kl of water and who currently paid R390.43, under level 0, they would pay R361.85.

The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry noted that because the drought was over, ratepayers were “naturally demanding a return to previous tariff levels”.

“The City Council’s reaction is to lecture them on climate change, the need to keep things going as they are and to retain the drought tariffs, drought or no drought,” said chamber president Janine Myburgh.

The Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA) said its concern was the implementation of service charges, and VAT thereon, on a basic service that a municipality should already provide, in terms of its role, via the rates income received.

GCTCA secretary Lesley Ashton said the “manipulation” and lack of transparency of future budget planning for service costs made it “impossible” to accept the burden of service levies.

“We believe that the ratepayer is not a cash cow to be burdened with service charges carried out by creative bookkeeping.

“People are frustrated and angry,” Ashton said.

Stop CoCT spokesperson Sandra Dickson also called for the restructuring of the entire water tariff structure process and accused the City of being rigid.

“Ratepayers should be consulted through a proper public participation process. They need to explain how they arrive at the tariffs they charge us,” said Dickson.

Weekend Argus

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