Chris Hani Municipality which took over water administration from Enoch Mgijima Municipality is desperately trying to source funds from residents irregularly. This municipality has not been issuing accounts since the dawn of the Covid 19 pandemic. Suddenly on February 16 somebody came to my residence to read the meter after a long time.
During the pandemic I continued paying my accounts after collecting them personally from their offices without fail. When I went to pay my account on May 15, I was given a huge bill of R3 000 and told that I had consumed 240l of water which is obviously falsified. Firstly my wife and I cannot use such a lot of water within that time/period. Throughout the pandemic period, this municipality has been using estimation to bill residents.
The reading of 240l of water was deliberately inflated since I did not consume such a huge quantity of water at any given time. The question arises how they came to this figure since they have not been reading the meters and I had settled all the accounts in full. After I confronted them about the discrepancy in the meter reading and billing they admitted the error which they promised to rectify, but so far they have not done so.
They have a tendency to overburden those who honestly, timeously and regularly pay their accounts with inflated bills in order to increase their revenue. I am deeply concerned as it appears this is the only method they use to source payments from the residents to increase their finances. These people are made cash cows to be milked in order to sustain the municipality. This practice is irregular and unacceptable and the culprit should be exposed and dealt with severely.
They fail to collect revenue from all the residents and crucify a few. No revenue is collected for water from small rural towns and villages and only Komani town, Ezibeleni and Mlungisi are made to pay. Maladministration, corruption and embezzlement of funds is the order of the day in our municipalities. The national government needs to intervene and make an overall clean-up of the system in order to make them durable, sustainable and able to deliver good service to the populace.
By Phakamisa Xhashimba