The multifaceted approach spearheaded by the Democratic Alliance to resolve the exorbitant proposed water tariff increases by the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) highlights the seriousness and anger of business and residential communities towards these charges.
Today the Democratic Alliance and Amathole residents held a picket outside the offices of ADM in East London. Councillor William Ward and I handed a petition to the Municipal Manager, Chris Magwangqana. For the petition, click here:
In addition, the DA has advised various other communities from ADM to petition the Eastern Cape Provincial Legislature to alert the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and Traditional Affairs to their plight.
I have written to the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, asking him to intervene in this matter.
Furthermore, the Chintsa community has written to the Public Protector to intervene in this problem.
It has been proposed that metered and domestic-metered consumers will pay an increase of 184 % for using 0 to 6kl of water monthly.
Consumers of unmetered water will be paying an acceptable 5, 9% increase but often costs are not recoverable from these consumers.
Another concern is that indigent and vulnerable folk who rely on a free 6 kl water allocation each month may start having this water provision curtailed if funding of water continues to be a problem.
Herein lies the problem.
To produce 24 million kl of water for Amathole (anticipated water to be supplied) will cost R 492 million to produce.
However, the total equitable share including the Department Water Affairs subsidy amounts to R191 million.
Therefore there is a funding shortfall of R301 million.
As a result business will have to absorb these large tariff hikes which could lead to more job losses.
The exhausted consumer is being burdened again with another unaffordable tax hike.
The other major concern is the lack of transparency and dishonesty towards consumers when these tariffs were discussed.
No convincing reasons were given for these increases and the table “Water tariffs” as per the IDP was not shown to Morgan Bay residents.
When the Mayor of ADM gave her address earlier in the year she only mentioned water tariff increases for unmetered water consumers.
With Great Kei having an 80, % billing recovery rate (far above that of many other municipalities) clearly these residents in this area are being unfairly targeted and discriminated against.
In terms of the Tariff Policy in the Municipal Systems Act section 74 (2) a) it states: “A tariff policy must reflect at least the following principles, namely that users of municipal services should be treated equitably in application of tariffs.
This wilful ongoing taxing of consumers cannot carry on and the DA will push that these tariffs be reduced to affordable levels for everyone.
For water tariff calculation click here.