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Capetonians must air views on municipal tariff rates

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Capetonians who are hard-pressed by the prospect of paying higher municipal tariffs must air their views through the formal public participation process. So says one civic activist in light of the City of Cape Town’s announcement last week that consumers could face an increase of 26.9% in water and sanitation costs. The following municipal services will increase as follows: rates 7,2%; electricity 8,1%; water 26,9%; sanitation 26,9% and refuse 5,7%.

In announcing the city’s budget for the financial year, Mayor Patricia De Lille said the water and sanitation department is also proposing the introduction of a fixed charge for water based on the water meter size, as well as level seven restriction tariffs. Given the dire effects of the current drought, through its water tariffs, the city council hopes to bring in more than R3 billion for water augmentation schemes. In addition, R9.4bn from property rates and R12bn from electricity sales is envisaged.

A public participation has been opened and residents living in city have the opportunity to voice their opinions. Sandra Dixon, the administrator of Dear Cape Town, a civic organisation formed to fight the water increases, explained how the public can participate effectively. Dixion said that she hears constant complaints from the public on how the city and government is not taken the public’s opinion into account.

“There are many Acts in the South Africa law that give the gives the public the opportunity to participate and voice their concerns and opinions. When the government or a local municipality makes a decision that affect many people, the public has the opportunity to participate in the decision according to the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act No. 3 of 2000) (PAJA),” said Dixion.

This Act forces a 30-day public participation progress and local councillors must educate residents on how this new tariffs will affect them. She further added that an email address was given where the public can forward their opinions to until 4 May 2018.

“It’s difficult for people to send in their complaints in to the City. One becomes reluctant and therefore we created dear capetown.coza. It’s a simple website, that requires only your name, surname, email address and your comment,” she explained.

She said that for every comment on the website residents need to separate there comments per post, by only having a heading of their comment and the comment. She encourages residents, to express their opinions on the water levy for home-owners as well.

“The drought levy is very close to the water levy, which was rejected in January by the public, which is based on the size of the pipes that’s connected to your property. For a property with a 15mm pipe, the levy will be R56 and for a 20mm pipe the levy will be R100. The size rises to 300mm which will cost R2000,” she said.

The levy and consumption will increase yearly. The city has different categories, such as water, sanitation, etc and the public needs to make sure there comment is in the correct categories. According to Dickson, the City needs to comply with the national treasury rates and these increases are above the inflation rates.

For the public who are unable to post their comments online they can forward their comments to, with their details, comment and a contact number.

“I will print out all those comments and deliver it to the City. For the residents who don’t want to use dearcapetown, they can hand deliver their comments themselves,” she concluded.

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