Water account headache

The City of Cape Town advises residents with queries in respect of their water bills to utilise their nearest walk-in centres.

This follows a complaint from a resident of Dan Pienaar Circle in Plumstead.

Marion van Reenen says since April this year they have been receiving excessive water bill and sometimes would get two billing statements a month with different amounts.

Marion says this followed shortly after the City installed new meter boxes.

“We went on holiday in Durban and when we came back we found that a new meter box was installed.

“Since then the bill went up.

“As if that was not enough, they switched off our water for seven days in the beginning of June for no apparent reason,” she says.

“I got three different reference numbers before they could actually switch it on again.

“I had to spend over a R1000 on a private plumber after the City told me to have our meter box checked and report back to them.”

On the copy of the statement she showed People’s Post, the total water bill was R1622.44 and she says she complained to the City about it.

According to Marion, before the drought her family used to pay less than R200 for their water consumption but the cost has since been fluctuating and has remained above their normal payment.

She says the bill affects their total rate payment.

Marion says she is disappointed with the way the City dealt with the issue as she and her family of four struggled to live without water.

She lives with her pensioner mother Maud Maureen van Reenen who lives with a medical condition is incontinent, her 33-year-old disabled sister and six-year-old son, and they survive on her salary and social grant.

Marion says the week was an inconvenience for her as she looks after everyone in the house.

“I would come back from work and have to go fetch water by my friend’s house then come back to do house chores,” says Marion­.

“It was too much for me and my mother who needs to bath at least twice a day because of her condition.”

She says she feels their attempts to save water are fruitless.

“I have been buying drinking water since the beginning of the drought, trying my best to store laundry for a while and using as little water as we can.

“We normally use more water at the beginning of month when I do everything in the house and for the rest we economise water, trying to avoid this headache­.”

Maud, who is the owner of the house, says she is disappointed in the City and feels sorry for her daughter who has to go through so much trouble while taking care of the family.

Maud says it would be better if they would get extra water a month to make sure they do not exceed their limit.

Mayco member for informal settlements, water, waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg, confirms that the City has received and attended to service requests linked to this property.

She also says the public should understand that meter boxes remain City property even after installation.

She says no consent is required for the City to work on these meters.

Limberg, however, says: “Please be advised that the City is investigating why this property was without water for extended periods, and will provide this information as soon as possible.”

She says the City provides 10.5kF a month for free to residents who qualify as indigent and in terms of the water restrictions, residents with special needs can apply for an increased water allocation.

V Relevant forms and instructions on how to submit the application can be obtained at municipal walk-in centres. To find centres visit www.capetown.gov.za 

V Residents can query their accounts by sending an email to accounts@capetown.gov.za, or by visiting one of the City’s walk-in centres.