Municipal bills increase ‘in the blink of an eye’

Westenburg residents say the municipality cannot give them answers as to why their municipal accounts increased "in the blink of an eye".

POLOKWANE – Westenburg residents say the municipality cannot give them answers as to why their municipal accounts increased “in the blink of an eye”.

According to the residents, their municipal accounts shot up by thousands of rands and it is useless to enquire at the municipal offices, as they are sent from pillar to post. They say they spend the whole day there and leave without answers.

Lucille Buys says her bill was never more than R200, but recently she received an account of R1 300.

“This is ridiculous. I am unemployed and cannot afford to pay that account. If I had to pay that money, I would not be able to put food on the table for my children. If I don’t pay the account we will not be able to buy electricity, because the municipality blocks our prepaid electricity cards and turns off our water. I don’t know what to do,” Buys says.

According to Buys, she is not the only person with this problem and she knows of five others who have the same problem.

Kim du Plessis says she received a municipal account of more than R9 000.

“Normally my municipal account is between R1 000 and R1 200 because we use prepaid electricity. Last year I did some renovations to my house and not even then was my account this high. I suspect something fishy is going on, because on some of my accounts there is no billing for water or estimation on how much water I used,” Du Plessis says.

She adds that her water meter did not work for three years, she reported it to the municipality several times, but they never fixed it.

“I receive an account every month with a water meter reading and I always went to the municipality and asked how it was possible that there is a water meter reading on my account when the water meter is not working. They only came to replace the broken water meter in February this year,” Du Plessis says.

Daniel Nelson alleges that the water meter readers only take the readings of every third house.

“I have seen it with my own eyes. They take the reading of the first house and then estimate the readings of the next two houses and only take a reading again at the third house. I asked one of them why they did that and he said it is to save time,” Nelson explains.

Both Buys and Du Plessis say when they went to the municipality to enquire about their high municipal accounts, the personnel were unfriendly, impatient and they were sent from the one person to the next, but left the municipal office without resolving their problems.

By the time of going to print the municipality was not able to offer comment on the matter.

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