After discovering by chance he had been overcharged for monthly refuse collection for six years, and that he would only be refunded half of his claim as it had prescribed, a concerned Ekurhuleni resident warned it could happen to anyone.
Boksburg resident and pensioner Russel Simons and his sister, who lives with him, visited their nearest municipal office to enquire about another issue only to discover they had been billed for two bins instead of one for the past six years. This was after they had registered only one bin in 2014.
He said: “We obtained an affidavit from the SA Police Service in Reiger Park and proceeded with the necessary documentation to the waste management department in Boksburg to cancel one bin.
“We were informed that our chances of getting our money back were slim.
“I then spoke to a municipal worker on the fifth floor of the municipal building in Boksburg. She said they were working on it and I ‘may’ receive a credit, but only for 36 months, according to the law of prescription.
“That means my sister loses R12,800.52.
“We did not request two bins when the system was rolled out, back in 2013.
“They are in possession of a document where I signed for one bin,” said Simons in frustration.
“I just want people to know that they could be charged double without even knowing because the municipality is not clear.
“They don’t tell you how many bins you are paying for on the invoice. So how many people are not aware of this?”
City of Ekurhuleni media officer Nhlanhla Cebekhulu said an independent entity had been appointed to “conduct a service point audit in one of the regions within the City of Ekurhuleni”.
“The purpose of the service point audit was to assess and correct the number of services rendered to individual premises.
“This service point audit was concluded during 2019 and is now in the implementation stage,” Cebekhulu said.
She acknowledged Simons’ complaint in January and said: “This matter was immediately investigated by the relevant waste management employees and a request to correct the number of refuse removal services with effect from 1 February 2020 was forwarded to the finance department on the same day (29 January 2020).
“The prescribed credit period of 36 months is applicable in terms of the The Municipal Systems Act, Act 32 of 2000 read with the Credit Control and Debt Collection Bylaw.
“The matter related to Mr R Simons was dealt with in terms of the Municipal Systems Act read with the Credit Control and Debt Collection Bylaw,” Cebekhulu said.