100% water-borne sewerage tariff increase another blow to uMgungundlovu water and sanitation customers

Issued by Councillor Hazel Lake – DA uMgungundlovu District Caucus Leader
17 Jun 2022 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance in uMgungundlovu District is enraged with the district’s 100.08% water-borne sewerage tariff increase in the 2022/23 budget.

This only came to our attention when the public notice was published online, which we immediately queried.

The water-borne sewerage tariff was R8.26 in 2021. On the uMgungundlovu public tariff notice online, the amount now sits at R16.52 – so this tariff represents a 100% increase (previous years tariffs were R7,68, R7.35, and R5.28 respectively).

When we queried this increase with the Municipal Manager, Ray Ngcobo, the reply we received was that the water tariff for last year, not the sewerage tariff would be used as the base figure to increase from – that being R14.69 and increased in 2022 to R16.52.

This amounts then comes to a 100.08% increase.

This is on top of the 50% water increase coming into effect on 01 July 2022.

On a commercial property this accounting method results in 165% increase.

How can a small business possibly pay 165% more?

The reason given to our query was that 75% of the volume of water used is billed as sewerage, as it is not possible to measure more accurately. The 75% is a recognised rate and accepted.

What is not accepted is a 100% increase in sewerage service tariff and 165% commercial increase. The 75% refers to volume not tariff. The 2021 tariff was R8.26 not R14.69 and therefore the increase should be on last year’s tariff.

This will result in an increase of about R250 per average household producing 10kl of sewerage and R3000 on a commercial property producing 50kl.

The impact is much higher on higher volume households or businesses.

The administration supported fully, the majority party are hiding behind the magic coverall term of applying a cost-reflective tariff.

This is abuse of the 40% paying customers of uMgungundlovu.

People and businesses cannot be expected to shoulder 100% to 165% increases in these times.

The municipal manager really does not seem to have any concern for the plight of residents, and in order to get a funded budgeT the tariffs were simply pushed up and up until the expenditure was funded.

That is pure abuse of residents and this insensitivity will ultimately harm the municipality’s precarious financial position by skyrocketing bad debts.