Driving through the open gate of this enclosed housing area in Mindalore, you’d think you’re entering a residential complex, but there’s no security at the gate, no complex custodian and not one house is built the same as another, reports the Krugersdorp News.
In fact, these houses look like the variety you’d find in any street. Why, then, is the area considered as one cohesive property by the municipality? This is the question that most of the 91 homeowners in this area are asking, and they’re asking it for a good reason.
The problem is their electricity accounts. Each house has its own prepaid meter. Residents buy an electricity (and water) voucher from a vendor and upload it to their meter.
“If I buy R500 power, then I only get R400 worth on my meter. R100 is taken when I make the purchase. Someone is taking R100 per month. Why? If I buy R100 electricity, then I get nothing,” homeowner Kate Rapetsoa questioned. She explained that they’ve sent a memorandum to Mogale City Local Municipality, and only after saying they’ll involve political parties and the media, did they get an audience with them.
Kate claimed that they met with Mayor Naga Patrick Lipudi on two occasions when he, allegedly, said that he also doesn’t know why this R100 is being deducted from their accounts. Their first meeting was on 20 January 2019 but their problem started four years ago.
Above and beyond this R100, they’re now expected to pay an additional R250 per month. This counts toward a debt placed on the so-called ‘Erf 997’ for an outstanding utilities bill which the residents believe should be the responsibility of the original developer.
Residents wrote again to the municipality on 7 June 2018, “The municipality supplies bulk electricity and water to Erf 997 Mindalore which supplies all residents therein. These utilities are measured and billed through bulk meters which are installed at the perimeter of the property. An account for Mindalore 997 NPC was created in 2014 by this municipality for the purposes of billing the residents through their homeowners association or body corporate”.
By February 2017 the account was in arrears of over R273 000. By the end of 2018 the account was nearing R800 000. The 91 residents were then reportedly expected to pay R250 each per month until the debt was paid off.
Their question is why are they expected to pay this amount, and not the developer? Resident Fulufhelo Musenwa claimed that, “the Mayor and municipal manager agreed that they would take the bill off all the homes and get it from the developer. But, the debt keeps growing each month”.
She also claimed that the municipality said they would remove the current boxes and “install boxes that comply with municipal standards”.
The News has requested feedback from the municipality, but has not received any yet. We will continue to follow up on this developing matter.