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Water activists want Public Protector to probe City

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Social activist groups Save Cape Town, Stop the City of Cape Town and Dear Cape Town, took to the streets of the CBD to protest their disdain with the city’s proposed water tariff increase. These organisations have asked the Public Protector to investigate the city council’s proposed 27% water price rise tariff increases that has outraged Capetonians.

Adding to the critical water shortage in Cape Town, water and sanitation tariffs are expected to increase by 26.9% and if the proposed 49-billion rand budget is to be approved, electricity consumers will have to pay a flat R150 rate excluding their electricity bill.

The poorly attended protest was not widely represented as majority of the protestors was from affluent areas in the city, with just a handful from poverty stricken areas on the Cape flats. Protestors voiced their concerns on how these increases will affect their already stressed utility budget.

Save Cape Town spokesperson Anne Marie Smith, said that Day Zero was uncalled for, and they want an investigation into where the money that was budgeted is going to.

“The proposed budget will take our people out of our homes; the proposed increase is taking the spending power away from our people. I am so irritated at how the pensioners are being treated; they are our mothers and fathers of our nation. They built this country and now in the golden years they are hit by hardship due to the city’s mismanagement and greed,” said Smith.

Demonstrators chanted outside of parliament before handing over the memorandums that “Water is a right.”

A concerned resident and member of the Save Cape Town Judge Kruger sai the City’s proposed water tariffs and the installation of water management devices are a violation of their constitutional rights.
“We want to tell the government that we don’t want to pay these high rates. The authorities need to find the funds of another treasure box,” said Kruger.

Protesters were calling for city officials’ wages to be halved so that the tariffs are not implemented. Activists have sought the intervention of the Human Rights Commission after approaching the office of the Public Protector to investigate the massive proposed 26.9 percept increase for water and sanitation as well as the introduction of fixed charges for water and electricity.

District Six and Khoisan activist Abduraghman Ismail says residents will not survive within the current financial climate.

“Due to fabrications by the City of Cape Town, the high electricity, water and soon rates increase is affecting the people especially on the Cape Flats. Many of them don’t have a voice, and therefore I am here today to be their voice and to stand up for their human right which the City is violating,” said Ismail.

An angry William Daniels from the Kuils River Civic Association and a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Western Cape said consumers are being hit with increases across the board.
“We are here to fight water and land issue, electricity which is life. I’m saying they must get rid of the corrupt officials. Its already affecting everyone across the board,” he said.

One of the protesters Fatima Abrahams said she’s disappointed with the turnout.

“People like to complain, but then they don’t support these protests and speak up. This is an issue that affects everyone. More people should have been here.” VOC

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