DA Msunduzi rejects ludicrous proposed tariff hikes

Issued by Councillor Ross Strachan – DA Msunduzi Caucus Leader
23 Mar 2023 in Press Statements

The DA in Msunduzi, during an Executive Portfolio Committee meeting today, strongly objected to the proposed tariff increases, focusing on water and electricity, which have now become completely unaffordable, yet residents experience almost daily interruptions of those key basic services.

The proposed tariff hikes that have now been taken out to the public have been met with great disgust and anger by the residents of Msunduzi. It has therefore left an unequivocally clear message that the City has lost touch with the reality of this desperate economic crisis.

In any business, where you increase your prices, you are expected to have been delivering a quality product to justify that increase, ultimately to ensure your clients have built up trust to continue to contribute with commitment. In this case, it’s the exact opposite, where the municipality is placing the “cart before the horse” demanding trust and commitment without earning it.

The 18,65% increase approved by NERSA and imposed by Eskom needs to be challenged by all relevant local municipalities/metros. Yet Since the Municipality has historically failed to structure itself correctly in terms of cost-reflective tariffs they now decide without proper systems of control to introduce them by adding an additional 3%, which takes electricity to 21,65% overall. Water at 32% plus 3% (35%), sending both Bulk Service Tariffs through the roof without any accountable justification or tangible assurance.

It is clear that the ANC is desperately clutching onto the hope that the municipality will fix itself by robbing the already deteriorated rate base, without attempting to grow the struggling ratepayers. Less than 40% of the population of the city continues to be further burdened, without any signs that the municipality can start fixing and prioritizing, even after its 4th year under Administration.

The Democratic Alliance proposed the following:

• Further Submissions from the Municipality must be made to both NERSA & Umgeni Water to further bring down those increases before they are approved at Full Council, as well as confirm with NERSA on the alleged revised Tariff increase to a lower percentage.

• Start looking at budget adjustments throughout all non-core functions, wasteful expenditure on Contracted Services, in particular security costs that go well into R100s of Millions per annum.

• Addressing the bloated organogram that sees three people doing one person’s job.

Until this municipality can start proving itself, it cannot expect residents to pay these exorbitant and totally ludicrous Tariff Increases. The DA will continue to fight this together with the ultimate Stakeholders who are the people of this City.