A Cape Town action group called Stop CoCT is pleading with the public to have their say on the proposed drought water tariff. The City of Cape Town has tabled a proposal to charge property owners with a drought levy to fund the income shortfall in order to facilitate water saving plans. The city has opened a public participation process for residents to comment. Opposition parties such as the African National Congress and the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) have since objected the drought levy.
Stop CoCT founder, Sandra Dickson, explains that Stop CoCT is a Facebook group that was started on December 3, 2017, with the purpose of participating in the public participation process afforded by the City of Cape Town.
She says the group is encouraging public participation on an issue that after legislation is passed will be an expensive process to overturn.
Residents now have “legal window” in which they can engage.
“Normally, we get a bill at the end of the month and we see there is a [charge] on the bill. Then residents are up in arms [and] want to fight it and overturn it. But, then they find to their horror that once any piece of legislation, tariff decision or decision taken by the City of Cape Town has been put into law, residents can basically do nothing about it.
Describing City officials as having been ‘asleep’, she says the recent move by the city was a means to collect interest-free funds from residents.
Dickson says the City’s R55 billion budget, of which 40 per cent is allocated to the upliftment of the poor, should be reworked to facilitate water security in the City.
Secondly, she says the City can sell municipal and water bonds.
Dickson says the desalination plants and the draining of the aquifers are not viable long-term solutions to ensure water security within the city.
“That is an effective way of raising long term capital. What they are doing now is putting a ban aid on a huge problem for the next 20 to 30 years.
“They have already sold R2 billion worth of green bonds, where is that money [and] why can’t that be used? They sold Maidens Cove in Camps Bay, they got a R1 billion for that, where is that money being used? ”
She further questions the use of the Department of Water and Sanitations’ R1.6 billion that is allocated for annual expenditure and R6.8 billion for operational expenditure.
For more information and to comment on the matter, visit dearcapetown.co.za. The closing date for comments is January 12, 2018.