Unfair water charges

Neil Patterson, Somerset West

My wife and I are very water-aware and are doing all we can to save and re-use water. Our average consumption is about 7kl per month. Each month I open the municipal account hoping to see an improvement. Imagine my shock to see we used 48kl for the period 27/6/17 to 26/7/17.

We immediately drove to the Strand municipal offices to query this. After tapping away on a keyboard for some time the official agreed it did not seem possible and assured us the matter would be investigated.

We were given a reference number and left, hoping for the best. Later that afternoon a message on my wife’s phone confirmed the matter would be looked into.

I went to look at the water meter the following morning, only to discover it was under water and obviously leaking. We phoned to report this and again we got a reference number. Two more phone calls on consecutive days and two more reference numbers later, the meter was apparently fixed.

We have thus far received no credit on our account. On Monday November 6, we received a demand on my wife’s phone that we immediately pay R14 434.20.

I phoned 0860 103 089 and eventually spoke to an operator who appeared to understand our situation. He said I was to get an affidavit attesting that I am a pensioner, a copy of my ID and three months bank statements and I must pay R2 580.91. This seemed reasonable.

On the morning of Tuesday November 7, our power was cut off. A letter in our post box said we had to pay R9 566.66 before the power would be restored. We obtained the requested documents and drove to the Strand municipal offices to sort everything out. The lady that helped us would not accept anything I told her or showed her and insisted we must pay R11 853.30 which included a hefty reconnection fee. We had no choice but to pay.

I have still heard nothing of any credit to our account. Why must I pay for water I did not use? I am disgusted with the way we have been treated by the City of Cape Town.

Xanthea Limberg, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy responded:

The City can confirm that the mentioned account has been adjusted for the period of the leak.

The customer has also been informed of the outcome of his query.

The City is arranging for the disconnection and reconnection charges to be reversed on the account.

We sincerely apologise for the delay and inconvenience caused.