The Herald (South Africa)
Back off, be fair – Danny's irate wife
Now Jordaan’s electricity accounts under scrutiny
HIS tax returns, his eligibility to vote and now his electricity bills have been scrutinised. Add to this the global Fifa bribery scandal and Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Danny Jordaan has in less than a month moved from being the city’s best export to South Africa’s most watched mayor.
His angry wife, Roxanne, lashed out at his detractors and the media this week, saying although she understood the spotlight on him, the reporting on her husband’s every move had been anything but fair.
“The spotlight is fine, but it must be fair. But if the spotlight burns your face then that is not fair,” she said.
“I’m concerned about how one’s private life becomes scrutinised in the public. Everything that’s written will be construed as if the man is a criminal. They’ve been through his taxes and now its his electricity account.”
This week the Weekend Post was shown documents which revealed that Jordaan had not been billed by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for electricity usage at his Summerstrand home since 2007.
The documents show that although the figures from the electricity meter have not moved after it burnt out in 2007, the municipality failed to pick this up and restore it until a month ago.
This, despite the fact that Amat – the company hired to clamp down on illegal connections – reported the problem to the municipality in October last year.
Roxanne, who handles the family’s utility accounts, said she reported the problem to the municipality a number of times over the years since she first discovered the meter was not moving.
Municipal spokesman Roland Williams confirmed the meter was reported and, because of the fault, no electricity charges were billed for the property from 2007 to 2015.
Roxanne, however, said a standing debit order which included electricity, water and other municipal charges had been going off their account every month for that period.
She said: “We’re aware that we have not been billed and we reported it to the municipality a number of times over the years.
“Last year again, we reported it. About four months ago, someone from the municipality told the man who works in our garden that the meter was not running.
“We were based in Johannesburg, so we were not at home, but we told the gardener that when they come again they must fix the meter.
“I called the municipality last month again to fix the meter and it was fixed. I asked if it was my problem or the municipality’s and the man said it was the municipality’s problem because the wires at the back of the meter had burnt and the municipality should’ve replaced it,” Roxanne said.
Williams said: “In such cases, when no electricity is charged as a result of a faulty meter, the municipality makes a calculation for the period of no charge, based on a three-month average. The calculation also takes into account the various tariff increases
over the period in question.
“At the time of responding to you, this calculation was still being made. Once this calculation has been made, it will be officially communicated to the customer.”
DA caucus leader councillor Retief Odendaal said he had seen the account and was adamant that no one had reported the broken meter.
“[I] can confirm that no one has lodged any queries with regard to the temporary supply on this account over the last seven years. If a complaint or inquiry is logged on an account, this information is normally reflected on the system.
“People in leadership posi- tions have a responsibility to ensure that their municipal accounts are up to date. When individuals with the financial means of our executive mayor/ president of Safa refuse to pay the municipality for services rendered, it deprives indigent individuals of opportunities to qualify for free basic services.
“It is immoral and is nothing less than the rich stealing from the poor,” Odendaal said.
He said he would refer the matter to the municipal public accounts committee for investigation.
Jordaan has hogged the headlines in recent weeks, ever since he was named the Bay’s first citizen.
Soon after the ANC announced him as its mayoral candidate, a disgruntled faction of the ANC said it was investigating whether or not he was a registered voter, in a bid to discredit him as a suitable candidate for the job.
Athol Trollip, the DA’s federal chairman, who has his hopes pinned on being mayor if the DA wins next year’s local government elections, has been at the forefront of the attacks on Jordaan, writing scathing letters to media across the country accusing him of delaying the municipality’s budget and of hiding from the public in light of the Fifa bribe scandal.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa defended Jordaan in The Herald, Weekend Post’s sister daily, saying: “Danny’s name is not even on the FBI indictment. Danny is not a loudhailer like Trollip. Comrade Danny has substance.”
Media have been lining up, demanding Jordaan answer whether or not he was involved in what the FBI claims was a bribe paid to secure the 2010 World Cup.
Although not named in the FBI indictment, Jordaan has been placed at the forefront of the saga as he was the head of the 2010 bid committee and chief executive of Safa at the time.
Jordaan’s wife said everyone deserved respect for their privacy and fair treatment by the media.
“If what goes into the media is what drives a person to jump off a bridge, that reporter must take responsibility,” she said.