C.Town residents protest proposed water tariff increases

dripping tap
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Cape Town residents took to the streets on Friday to protest against proposed municipal tariff increases. This includes increased water tariffs for the 2018/19 budget.

Concerned residents led by the group, Save Cape Town, say the city is exploiting residents.

The City of Cape Town has tabled a municipal budget that includes a proposed water tariff increase of more than 26%.

They say that they simply do not have the money and are being punished for using less water as a result of the crippling drought.

“The tariff increases that are coming through right now, they’re exorbitant and if they do go through it’s going to harm the economy. We’ve had a vat increase, we’ve had petrol going up and now water, electricity, it’s going to bankrupt the people.”

“It’s ridiculous, my personal account was 3 odds, I’m paying almost 600 now, where does that money come from? I’m talking about me, not someone else, I can’t afford it. I’m a pensioner, R1 500 – it’s ridiculous,” says William Daniels, of  Kuils River Civic Association.

“The inflation ration in the country is currently 4,4% – and the city of Cape Town is going to increase our account by 35%. If you take the water, sanitation and electricity together it’s going to be 35%. So it’s not just higher than the inflation rate… it’s like multiples of the inflation rate,” says Sandra Dickson of Stop COCT Action Group.

The City of Cape Town says it had a massive decline in revenue as a result of less water consumption. But it says even if it is selling less water, operation costs are still high.

The city says it is planning to increase water supply. Poor households will receive their first 10 point 5 kilo litres of water for free.

“Above 10,5 kilo litres of water the tariff becomes punitive, because essentially we do not want people consuming excessive amounts of water – and therefore only at that level does the tariff become punitive. But essentially even though it is far more than people have paid a year ago, when we were on a level four tariff, right now the tariff is actually cost reflective – and that’s the true cost of delivering water directly to your home or business,” says City of Cape Town’s Xanthea Limberg.

Memorandums were handed over to the city, the presidency and the provincial office of the public protector.

The demonstrators urged Cape Town residents to have their say in the public participation process that ends on
May 4.