City of Cape Town is ‘inept’

David Beelders, Vasco

We have never considered the necessity of water, nor indeed the damage we have done to Mother Earth, which has resulted in catastrophic changes in nature and the rising cost of water.

The DA City of Cape Town has, yet again, proved it is inept and lacks any morality in dealing with its citizens, and then piously offers lower water tariffs.

Lower and middle-class citizens who were forced to restrict their water use received a punitive reduction as against the “affluent” or non-caring residents who abused water supplies (to quote the City) as they received a 56% to 70% reduction.

Residents then still face a punitive pipe levy; increased water charges; continuing sewerage charges for those using only grey water in toilets; a levy on prepaid meters; increased electricity charges; and charges if solar panels are not registered. Soon they will be levied (as things go) on extracting and using water from boreholes.

And then the hierarchy refers to two other metros – both ANC enclaves – that have applied levies. The ANC regime is just as immoral, as, on a commodity which is essential according to the Constitution, VAT is applicable to water charges.

Both care not about the peasants under their control or about grassroots stirrings.

Our pathetic metro went on a trip over Day Zero: brainwashed the public; spent astronomical sums of ratepayers’ money on printing advertisements – propaganda; caused millions of rand of irrigation systems to become useless; millions of rands were used to drill boreholes; undue panic was caused among numerous citizens, many who then wasted hard-earned money on purchasing water cans.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy responds:

Firstly, the City rejects any suggestion that the drought was fabricated or that we sought to create undue panic.

Had the City not undertaken drought awareness campaigns, it is likely that we would have run out of water entirely, with catastrophic consequences for all residents.

With regard to criticism of bigger price cuts in the upper steps of the water tariffs, this is largely moot during level 5 and 6 restrictions as households should not use enough water to enter these tariff steps.

If a household did enter the higher tariff steps where larger reductions were applied, they would have been immediately advised to reduce consumption and, failing this, would have had a water management device fitted to restrict consumption at the property.

The argument that higher water users are getting more relief is not accurate as prices at the higher steps of the tariff for level 5 and 6 restrictions are in practice just one of the City’s deterrents to high water use and negligence by home owners in terms of leaks, with level 5 being a less severe deterrent.

During level 5 restrictions, the City will continue to fit water management devices at the properties of excessive water users. In terms of other criticisms, the City understands that any price increase will put consumers under pressure.

These increases are minimised as far as possible while still ensuring enough revenue is available to run a resilient and reliable water supply system.

Recent changes to the tariff structure, and tariff increases, have all been implemented to ensure, as far as possible, that we avoid a repeat of the most recent water shortage. All revenue from water and sanitation tariffs is used to operate and maintain the City’s water supply system, and does not subsidise other services.