I’ve been in and out of the municipal office since August last year, querying a bill of R3 600 for water in one month. I wanted them to prove how it was possible.
Instead, I was accused of having fixed a leakage in my house – but we never had any leakages. I was sent to the water department across the road by billing, because the official acknowledged that there was a technical problem and I must be credited.
In February, a prepaid meter was installed, but I was still billed for water for five months after I’ve been there to report it. Mpho M, 67 Lewis Street, Luippardsvlei, Mogale City
Mayor Maneli: Meters are installed to measure the consumption of individual consumers to allow the municipality to bill for services used. If a situation arises where there is a spike in consumption, there are two possible scenarios:
There could be a problem on the premises of the consumer. An example would be a leaking pipe that goes undetected. Once a complaint against a high bill is received, the municipality will encourage the consumer to take steps to determine the cause of the problem.
It must be understood that the costs for this is for the expense of the consumer as the municipality has no authority to it on private property. A consumer would in some instances be advised to secure the services of a plumber. Once the problem is identified and fixed, the excessive consumption should cease. The bill should ordinarily return to the average cost.
The excessive consumption could also be caused by a defective meter. The municipality will test the meter. If it is found that the meter is indeed defective, it will be replaced.
Thereafter, the municipality, through its revenue division, will use past consumption records going back for a period not exceeding six months to determine the consumption patterns of the user and reach an average consumption rate to define the bill for the period of dispute. The consumer may even get a credit on his or her account.
The municipality would also replace the faulty meter at its own cost. If it is found that the meter is not defective, the costs of the test would be levied to the account of the consumer. Having considered your narrative, I am hesitant to make conclusive remarks, but would rather request that you engage with the municipality immediately. Please urgently contact Mr Mbanjwa, the manager of water and sanitation on 078-348-0882.
Your matter has been forwarded to him and he has undertaken to ensure that it is resolved as soon as possible. The local municipality remains available to assist community members with any problems they encounter relating to services.
Community members should note the following contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org. Residents are encouraged to log their water-related complaints there.
Recently, your administration has been very vocal in the media about corruption, crime and drugs, which is most commendable. Surely high on your programme must be the rehabilitation and care of those affected?
There is a 16.4-hectare property that used to be a resort. It has a large infrastructure, which can possibly sleep 60 people, including staff. There is also an area for sports fields.
It is big enough to build a school or possibly be used as an agricultural school. This property would be an ideal place for rehab, a school, community centre or a safe house for women.
The land can be used for agricultural purposes. A person with vision can really transform this into something. If you are not the right person to speak to, do you know who I should contact? Clive Lewis, Krugersdorp West
Mayor Maneli: It is heartening to realise that the message we are continuously putting across is being heard by our community members. Indeed, the scourges as you list them are debilitating our communities. I am comforted by the fact that you understand that this fight cannot be fought by government alone.
It requires a joint effort by all parties. We need people like you to come forward and partner with us if we are to win this battle. The municipality is currently running a social development programme that is aimed at addressing drug and substance abuse in youth.
The programme is run in conjunction with the SA Police Service. Rand West has a drug rehabilitation centre which provides services in this regard. But we are receptive of any help that is offered.
I will forward this to officials in the municipality to facilitate a meeting with my office. I would be much obliged to hear about the property in question and any suggestions you may have towards bettering the lives of our community