Ac­tivists mount cam­paign to halt rates bills from spi­ralling

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NOR­MAN CLOETE

THOU­SANDS of res­i­dents across the city have raised their ob­jec­tion to the in­stal­la­tion of wa­ter man­age­ment de­vices (WMD) on the Stop the City of Cape Town Face­book page.

The de­vice is one of six is­sues high­lighted in a mem­o­ran­dum of griev­ances which protest group Stop COCT and Save Cape Town handed over to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the DA, the City of Cape Town, the of­fice of the Pub­lic Pro­tec­tor and the of­fice of the Pres­i­dency yes­ter­day morn­ing dur­ing a protest march to Par­lia­ment.

A group of 40 Capeto­ni­ans took to the streets to vent their anger at pro­posed plans to raise charges for wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion, refuse and elec­tric­ity.

Stop City of Cape Town founder, San­dra Dick­son said other griev­ances in­cluded the billing sys­tem. Res­i­dents were still sub­jected to level 6b wa­ter re­stric­tions even though Day Zero “is gone”.

“Even the level 6b re­stric­tions were just en­forced upon the res­i­dents. I was there when (Mayor) Pa­tri­cia (de Lille) just read it out and said it would hap­pen. The drought levies were put to a vote.”

Dick­son ac­cused the city of be­ing au­to­cratic.

At the end of last month, De Lille, in her bud­get speech, pro­posed a 26.9% tar­iff rise for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion rates along with a 7.2% in­crease for rates and 5.7% for refuse and 8.1% for elec­tric­ity. The news was met with out­rage by res­i­dents.

The tar­iff rise, if im­ple­mented, will be charged from July 1.

Charges for wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion are set to in­crease be­tween R56 and R100 and if the pro­posed R49 bil­lion bud­get is to be ap­proved, con­sumers will pay a R150 flat rate be­fore us­ing any elec­tric­ity in their homes.

City of­fi­cials, on the other hand, said the hikes are needed to run the city ef­fi­ciently.

On April 1, South Africans faced an added fi­nan­cial bur­den when value added tax (VAT) in­creased from from 14% to to 15%.

The group and other ac­tivists have es­tab­lished a web­site that re­ceives and col­lates com­ments on the pro­posed bud­get. So far, more than 18 677 peo­ple have com­mented on the bud­get.

Ac­cord­ing to Stop the City of Cape Town, the group has 7 852 mem­bers.

Res­i­dents have ac­cused the city of prof­it­ing from the drought but city of­fi­cials are adamant that the tar­iff rises hikes are nec­es­sary.

Lulu Shi, 39, with guides Phanny Risi­mati and Dean Oellofse in the Kruger Na­tional Park.

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