File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives
The City of Cape Town’s water tariffs, introduced during the severe drought, remain a bone of contention, with some even accusing the City of wanting “its bread buttered on both sides”.

The tariffs are even part of Patricia de Lille’s GOOD party’s electioneering arsenal - the party says the city is exploiting responsible water users, the poor and vulnerable in the city.

In November 2017, then mayor De Lille said the city needed money for maintenance and to build new water schemes.

Now embroiled in a legal battle with the DA, De Lille believes the continued tax was exploitative. GOOD said De Lille had proposed a temporary drought levy in 2017 to cover a predicted R1.6billion shortfall.

Action group Stop City of Cape Town has also weighed in on the matter, slamming the city for wanting “its bread buttered on both sides”.

Sandra Dickson of Stop CoCT said residents rejected the drought levy proposed by the City in 2017, but it then went ahead with a fixed charge. “They increased the water tariffs substantially while at the same time they also slapped a levy on the public. Pensioners are in particular hit hard by this double whammy for increased water tariffs, and there is no relief or assistance from the City for them.”

But the City of Cape Town said a “persistent misperception” existed that it made a huge profit through provision of basic services. It makes no profit from the sale of electricity, water and sanitation or rates, said mayoral committee member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg.

The tariff structure was needed to secure “some degree of income certainty which was not dependent on consumption alone”.

Not so, according to GOOD, who said the City gained increased revenue of R4.4bn, quoting international rating agency Moody’s release in March.

“These profits are the unjust windfalls of the high water costs forced on Cape Town last year by the DA,” said De Lille.

Weekend Argus