3 minute read
11 Oct 2017
6:00 am

Billing crisis: Joburg pensioner gets R3 500 electricity bill a month

She claims city officials have warned her that they would switch off the lights if she does not pay.

Picture: Thinkstock

I started living in Cosmo City nearly nine years ago and I am loving it. But since moving here, burst sewerage pipes have always been a problem. There is one situated at the corner of Central Africa and South Africa Drive.

The sewage is leaking all over the place and this is where kids cross on their way to school. I always see Joburg Water employees trying to unblock the drain but in a day or two, sewage starts coming out again.

A more permanent solution would be to replace the current pipes with much bigger ones. I honestly put my trust in you, as the ANC government failed to sort out the drainage system. Thompson Kajeko, Cosmo City, Extension 6.

Mayor Mashaba: Johannesburg Water is aware of the reoccurring sewer blockage at the intersection of South African Drive and Central Africa/Angola Drive. This is caused by a 90-degree junction where the one sewer pipe is connecting to the other.

It is not the norm to have 90-degree connections in a sewer system, as it will cause surcharge. Johannesburg Water is in the process of appointing a contractor to relay this approximately 40m of sewer, to do away with this 90-degree junction.

We anticipate that the appointment process for the contractor will be completed within the next week to ensure that work commences towards the end of October.

I have a huge outstanding electricity account. I have been communicating with the electricity department, with no success and no one reads the meter. My account averages R3 000 to R3 500 a month.

My contract ended in September, 2016. I am a pensioner waiting to apply for a government pension. I have been told the lights are going to be disconnected and I am very concerned. Can someone please assist? Hazel Jacobs, Eldorado Park, Kliptown

Mayor Mashaba: As a city, we have a pro-poor strategy that caters for the most vulnerable of our residents. As such, we have been updating our indigent register, the expanded social package (ESP), and invite you, as an eligible resident, to register.

The ESP targets vulnerable residents in the city such as senior citizens, the unemployed, youth and persons with disabilities, displaced persons, women and children. Ratepayers should visit their nearest customer shared service centre to register.

To qualify for the ESP package, you must:

  • Be a South African citizen.
  • Reside within the Joburg municipal boundary.
  • Have a monthly income not exceeding R5 308.20.

People with various levels of need qualify for different categories of subsidies, rated according to the city’s measure of poverty. Benefits include water subsidy, electricity subsidy, rates and refuse removal and sanitation.

You do not need to be an account holder to apply, or a homeowner to qualify for the metered service benefits. Normal registration is open at customer service centres citywide.

If you know your ID number, but do not have any identity documents, they can still register you, but you will have to produce an identity document within six months. Registration is mandatory for new and existing beneficiaries.

NEXT WEEK: West Rand mayor Boyce Maneli responds to your questions.