The DA in eThekwini has scored yet another victory as they successfully, passed a Motion in the full council sitting, dealing with reimbursement of collection charges and undelivered refuse bin bags (view notice of motion here).
The motion came about after DA councillors have been inundated by requests from angry residents, calling for refunds on their municipal bills, whereby they claim to be charged for services not rendered. The Durban Solid Waste (DSW) charges which relate to collection of domestic refuse, garden refuse and bin bags are blanket charges when a large percentage of the community do not get value for money.
The ongoing strikes and go slows in DSW , (in almost most instances directed at the ANCs internal factions) , has directly impacted on regular removal of household refuse meaning that the affected residents have to drop their refuse at the dump themselves. The problem is exacerbated when the residents find that dumps have been closed either due to a strike or simply are unable to accept any further refuse due to the dump being at full capacity.
Despite the DA raising these issues with the heads of DSW, there was never any formal response or decision taken on how to remedy the issue of the tariffs that have been levied against utility bills for services not rendered.
DSW appears to have no proper accounting, auditing, delivery schedule or plan regarding the allocation of refuse bin bags. Despite demanding that they develop a system of accountability and consequence management, whereby residents and councillors alike, are able to tell which suburbs are scheduled for delivery and when, this has not been forthcoming. Neither is there accountability for why the stock is sitting with depots for months and not being delivered.
The approval of this motion is a small but very progressive step in getting the city to acknowledge that they cannot tax the already burdened taxpayer with the tariffs and cost that are not commensurate with services.
Whilst the DA is fully cognizant of the fact that it might be a long process for consumers to actually realise the refund that they are calling for and that the onus will be on the consumer to prove that they did not receive the services for which they are billed, the unanimous acceptance of this motion paves the way for future accountability and reimbursement to the taxpayer.