Belfast residents are reeling in shock after receiving sky-high municipal accounts, which they have no choice but to pay with money they don’t have, despite service delivery reaching a crisis point.
While residents, schools, centres for the disabled, and businesses alike have battled against constant water and electricity interruptions for over two years, they have been coerced into standing in winding queues to have municipal accounts unblocked.
Chantel Ungerer, a resident and business owner, resorted to contacting the Middelburg Observer after receiving a laughably high municipal account for the sixth month in a row, despite the Emakhazeni Local Municipality’s promise that the amounts would be reversed and accounts credited by December last year.
Ms Ungerer explained that municipal accounts were issued as normal until August 2023, when no accounts were issued to residents.
When residents finally received September’s account, they had skyrocketed to a ridiculous amount.
The municipality responded that the irregularities were a result of an ongoing audit, but that the matter would stabilise once the audit was over, and the amounts would be reversed.
“The municipality promised to have the issue resolved by December, only for them to shift the goal post to January, and now it’s been moved to March.”
According to Ms Ungerer, residents received another shock after the municipality blocked the meters preventing residents from being able to buy electricity.
“By their fault, the meters have been blocked, and now residents have to go and stand in long queues to rectify the matter. We as a company have more than ten meters, all of which were blocked.”
• The Middelburg Observer attempted to contact the head of communications for the Emakhazeni Local Municipality, who was unavailable for comment by the time of publication.