A Soshanguve Block GG pensioner has been living without water and electricity for the past 10 years – all because the municipality says he owes them R112,000 in unpaid bills, reports Pretoria North Rekord.
“I cannot afford to pay it,” said Elias Hlongwane (76).
“I only earn pensioners’ money, which is about R1,800 a month. Each month I need to stretch my money. I have to think of groceries and other expenses; the bill is too much.”
Hlongwane has lived in the house registered to his late wife without water and electricity since 2008.
“We bought the house together when we got married.”
His wife, however, filed for a protection order in 2008. Soon after that the couple filed for divorce, which was never finalised.
These events forced Hlongwane to move out of the house. He returned a year later, after hearing of his wife’s passing.
“Around June 2009, I was alerted by the neighbours that people were living illegally in the house and that I should come back. This was after we buried my wife,” said Hlongwane.
Hlongwane said he then asked the tenants to leave the house.
“They told me they were renting my late wife’s house from a man in the community known as Wiseman. They said they were paying him a monthly rent of R1,500.”
He said the debt belonged to his wife and he had been trying the change the ownership of the house to him “but I have been unsuccessful”.
He said life had been very difficult for him without water and electricity.
“Sometimes my stove runs out of gas and I have no choice but to ask help from neighbours and friends,” he said.
Tshwane metro service assurance and quality management deputy-director Gordon James confirmed the property was not registered to Hlongwane.
“According to our title deeds registry, he does not have any property linked to his ID number.”
Instead, the property appears to be registered to a home loans company.
“In this case, we can only deal with the owners of the property in question. If the home loans company can settle the account in full, we will waiver the interest charges.”
“The account accumulated arrears due to non-payment of services as well as several credit control actions which were instigated on the account, including disconnections of electricity.”
According to James, the last payment on the account was in 2011 for R50.
James encouraged Hlongwane to make an arrangement with the metro.
“This will require a 50% deposit and the balance payable in instalments,” said James.
He said Hlongwane could visit the metro’s offices at Isivuno House, corner of Lillian Ngoyi and Madiba streets.