Johannesburg - A Joburg resident whose woes remain unresolved in spite of interventions and promises from the City of Joburg’s MMC for finance, said he is worried his home will be auctioned “due to the mess” after receiving a water bill of more than R66000 last month because of a faulty meter.
Keenen Whittaker from Maraisburg is one of several residents who approached The Sunday Independent about receiving inaccurate bills from the city.
After the publication of Whittaker’s plight, MMC Funzela Ngobeni intervened and visited Whittaker at his residence and promised to ensure that his faulty meter was changed.
But three months later, Whittaker said he was shocked and devastated when his water bill for May came back reflecting that he owes the City R66798.78.
“I am just nervous that my property will be auctioned due to this mess. I am worried that they will come and do illegal cuts.
“Dealing with the city is a total nightmare because your accounts are never sorted. (They issue) incorrect billings each and every month. No one takes accountability.
“I am very frustrated.
“The ridiculous pre-termination and termination charges are affecting me very badly,” said Whittaker.
Last month, after his 2018/19 budget speech, Ngobeni promised that the billing queries would become a thing of the past as his department was to “turn the tide” in the battle to reduce the large number of billing -related queries.
But clearly this hasn’t happened for Whitakker.
In May, he sent a scathing letter to the City of Joburg trying to find resolution to the matter.
“I am really trying my level best to be professional with regards to this very uncomfortably long-outstanding matter. After all my efforts, I’m still left in the dark and nothing seems to move, which really leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.
“Look at the attached account. How is it possible to bill me for water on estimated readings? This water meter is outside the gate but we receive estimated readings and yet they are so high.
“How is it expected from me to pay such a huge amount? Please look at my previous month (water statement); you will notice that my water bill doesn’t even reach the ‘estimated amount’.
“This is total and complete madness. Look at the attached account that reflects a total amount for this month of R66798.78. How is this possible?” he asked.
In response to questions, spokesperson for the MMC, Kutlwano Olifant, said: “An official within Group Finance Department in the City, was assigned with Mr Whittaker’s account since May 2018.
“We have encountered several issues on his account, which the department has escalated to relevant entities (City Power and Joburg Water) for a resolution.
“We can confirm that since May, our official has constantly updated Mr Whittaker about the query.
“We understand Mr Whittaker’s frustration as we are doing our utmost to assist him and clients who find themselves in such situations.”
The Sunday Independent