Water bill headache

If you have any queries about your water bill, visit the municipal walk-in centres of the City of Cape Town with the relevant documentation (proof of income) and make payment arrangements.

This was the advice of Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, when People’s Post enquired about the water bills amounting to R60 000 of the Bhongolethu Foundation in Masiphumelele.

Managers of the foundation claim they cannot pay the exorbitant bills due to a lack of funding and the bills being for three different accounts on three different properties.

“We have three different water accounts. [The one] is for the sewing school and has an account of R50 000 from a leak in August 2017. We applied for a rebate as it was an underground leak that we were not aware of and when it was brought to our attention we fixed it immediately. The rebate was granted but still the amount is reflecting on our account,” says Tyler Sutcliffe of the foundation.

The second account had a water monitoring system put on without the foundation’s knowledge and only allows 350F per day and they always run out of water as they have 75 children at the crèche.

“We are charged domestic rates and if we use more than the allocated total we are charged exorbitant rates. To me this is also a losing battle that I am fighting.

“[The third account] is also for a crèche with 75 children and is being charged domestic rates. We were without water for January and February and the City is still charging us on estimate readings. We paid the water bill for the two months and I am sure a rebate should be granted too. On our accounts we get charged a service charge, yet the City give us estimated readings. I am sure the service charge is for them to come and read our meter?” Sutcliffe claims.

At all its schools the foundation has well points or boreholes and use that water for flushing toilets, cleaning, and watering the garden.

“We only use municipal water for drinking, washing hands and cooking and this costs R10 000 monthly. With the water monitoring metres it is better but when we run out of water the children suffer because there is no water for washing hands or drinking. I have also applied for non-domestic rates,” she says.

Sutcliffe has gone to the City to sort out her problem and the City agreed to fix it, but the foundation has since received letters from the City’s lawyers that electricity will be disconnected because their account is in arrears.

Limberg suggested that with regard to the legal action Sutcliffe must visit a municipal walk-in centre with relevant documentation (proof of income) and make payment arrangements.

These arrangements will be based on their means.

“With regard to the underground leak, the rebate process has specific procedures that need to be followed before adjustments can be effected. Feedback on this application is that this rebate application has already been processed and the financial adjustment is already reflected on the account. V Continued on page 2.