The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Gauteng have hailed Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba for what they described as the “excellent job” he had done in cutting off the water supply for the Gauteng Sandton station and its landlord, Cedar Park Properties.
On Wednesday, Mashaba explained the City of Johannesburg’s decision to cut off the station’s water.
“Earlier this month the City was left with no option but to cut off water supply at the station. This followed extensive efforts to get the landlord to pay its R8-million debt owed to the City for water, refuse, sewerage, and property rates.”
On the same day, the Gautrain appealed to the City to turn the water back on, citing hygiene concerns. Portable toilets with basins are currently in use at the station.
When called for comment, Gautrain spokesperson Kesagee Nayager said rates and taxes were the responsibility of the landlord. Attempts to gain comment from Cedar Park Properties were unsuccessful at the time of publication. Continued efforts will be made.
The EFF, meanwhile, wants “all rich people and companies who have not paid the COJ for services” to “have everything cut off immediately”.
The party said in a statement it also wanted the city to “very quickly” cut off the Sandton Gautrain’s other services, including electricity.
“There can be no special treatment for anyone, especially rich people and their companies. The rich must lead by example and be the first to pay for all their municipal services. They can even afford to pay in advance, to help the municipality’s cash flow so that it can divert more money to the poor.”
According to the statement, Soweto residents have been “wrongly punished by Eskom” by having their electricity cut off for several months due to nonpayment.
“Ordinary working-class families are stalked by municipalities without delay, when they don’t or can’t pay for municipal services. The COJ Metro is not lenient to ordinary people whose hard-earned wages often can’t reach all their family’s financial obligations, but they still have their services cut off when they don’t pay.”
The statement goes on to voice the party’s disapproval over the Gautrain in general, which it says is “of no benefit to the poor whatsoever, who are paying a lot of money for it annually”.
“They can’t afford its ridiculous rates when they go to work. The poor need the train the most yet they can’t even afford a single trip.
“Plus the service does not reach the poor, the entire infrastructure was built to support wealthy business people when they land at OR Tambo and return. This fancy money-guzzling train for the rich costs Gauteng citizens billions of rand, paid over to the entity every year despite the EFF’s consistently strong objection to Gautrain receiving even a single cent from [the] struggling and majority [of] poor workers and citizens.”
The EFF labels the Gautrain one of Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his cabinet’s “elitist obsessions”, on which they alleged billions had been wasted.
“Poor people in the province could benefit from quality services and through jobs created by the money given to Gautrain. Only if we had a caring, people-focused government and not the elitist, right-wing, looting-obsessed politicians we are stuck with,” the statement said, before calling for an asset register of the Gautrain company “to verify the scope of land and properties it has acquired, especially those acquired during the expropriation phase during the beginning of the project.”
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman.)