An Eastridge pensioner and his wife are drowning in the escalating water bills they’ve been receiving since September last year.
The Camerons’ latest bill is a whopping R11 451.24, significantly more than their water bill used to be.
In July last year it was R39.94; August R12.57; September R51; and October R75.41.
Suddenly, in November, it was at R558.20; December R2 709.57; January this year, R4 799.60; and February, R7 546.50.
Basil Cameron, 72, has been paying R150 a month as he was told to at least pay something towards his bill and on Thursday February 9, paid R320 at the City of Cape Town’s office at Promenade mall, for an inspector to check for leaks on his property.
While the City’s inspector found no leaks, Mr Cameron also called in a private plumber, who confirmed that his stop cock had a major leak.
Explaining how he knew he could not have used enough water to warrant a bill of thousands of rands, Mr Cameron said: “It is just my wife and I. We wash clothing once the basket is full, which could be at the most once a week. We can’t even use up the minimum daily free water we are entitled to,” he said.
Mr Cameron argued that the stop cock was not on his property and he therefore could not be held responsible for something that happened outside of his gate.
The City, however, is adamant that it’s Mr Cameron’s responsibility.
Eddie Andrews, mayoral committee member for Area South, said leaks on private infrastructure was the responsibility of the property owner and explained that the fee Mr Cameron paid, was to cover the costs of having the meter tested.
“If the customer is challenging the accuracy of the meter, they can pay to have the meter tested.
“The charge is to cover the cost of the test and transporting the meter to the test bench.
“If the meter is found to be faulty, the testing fee will be reimbursed,” he said.
Mr Andrews encouraged Mr Cameron to visit his nearest municipal office in order to explore whether he is eligible for one of the City’s rebates, or to work out a payment arrangement based on his means.