Community pickets over high water bills

Residents held a picket against high-water bills at the Mandalay Shell Garage.

On Saturday September 22, the communities of Mandalay, Mont Claire and Thembokwezi stood together as they picketed in Mandalay to highlight their complaints about their high water bills.

Residents across the city have been raising their water woes with the media and last week the Plainsman reported on the case of Amanda Collins, 48, from Montrose Park who has a water bill of R220 419 which will only be scrapped if she agrees to have a water management device installed on her property (“Woman battles City on sky-high water bill”, Plainsman, September 19).

“The City of Cape Town has been changing and installing water management devices (WMD). They are reading the WMD by estimations. This is seriously affecting our communities. People need to be aware of what’s going on, people do not know where to turn to anymore. I submitted letters to the MEC, premier as well as our ward councillor Michael Pietersen and to this day nobody responded,” said Thumeka Mdlazi, chairperson of Mayibuye, who headed the #mayibuyeimandalaymayibuye campaign against high water tariffs.

Vice-chairperson Senke Lonake added: “Some of us are single parents, they look at the vulnerable people, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. They are oppressing us.”

Councillor for Ward 116, Michael Pietersen said when complaints are raised with him, his office lodges a C3 notification and sends it to the relevant departments.

“There is a high demand for water tariffs being dealt with daily. We are the liaison between the community and the department, we must find out where the hiccups are. If the problem is not resolved, we will then attend to the matter.”

Shaheed Mahomed, a member of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party, said they had raised their concerns about the City estimating the readings of the water management devices.

“The City is allowing sub-contractors to do the readings when the City should be the ones doing it so that they can control that system,” he said.

“People should look at their accounts, take pictures of the readings on their WMDs as well as mud, sand or anything obstructing it. People should compare their readings daily as you will be able to pick up whether something is wrong.”

He also said the community should be in constant communication with their councillors and should regularly check for leaks on their property and make sure that all taps are closed properly.

“The people need to build evidence and compare it to their accounts. That’s the first step in fixing the problem,” said Mr Mahomed.

For queries on water issues, contact workersinternational@gmail.com for more information.