Angered by high water bill

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Nadia Buys

Bloemfontein resident, Nadia Buys, is outraged by the huge increase in her water bill after a water meter had been installed in the yard behind her house last year. She has taken up the matter with the municipality but the matter is still unresolved.

“I normally paid around R400 for water but the amount suddenly escalated to about R600, and then to an outrageous R1700 per month. I logged calls, my ANC cadre logged calls, my real estate agent logged calls and I logged calls again. The technicians finally went out to fix the leak at the water meter,” explained Buys.

When the leak was finally fixed in May, the technician explained to Buys that the problem was a leaking pipe underground which led to the street. She was instructed to pay the amount. “I was really willing to accept the previous accounts, but seeing that this last account was so expensive, I have had to ask for all my money back,” she said.

Since then she has been sent from pillar to post without any assistance. Buys said her latest account amounted to R2483.96. “The amount is absurd. I stay in a suburb and the Municipal Office insisted the amount is my liability even though we waited so long for the leak outside the yard to be fixed.

I’m a single mother with three kids and we’re home only from 14:00 every day. We do not even use the bath, we use shower. I can’t afford this amount. The excuses I got from the municipality were that when I first paid, I acknowledged that I owed that amount, but if I do not pay my rates and taxes, it will result in my account being in arrears,” she added.

Mangaung spokesperson, Qondile Khedama, said that consumers who have issues with their municipal bills can contact the Call Centre on 0800 111 300. “Consumers may lodge a formal dispute by writing to the Chief Financial Officer regarding charges for municipal services. The aggrieved person must clearly state the basis of his or her dissatisfaction and the desired resolution.

The aggrieved person must lodge the dispute in respect of a municipal service and/or amount. If the complaint is not attended to, the person may write a letter to the Chief Financial Officer or City Manager indicating the details of the complaint, with the necessary evidence attached, and the suggested resolution,” said Khedama.

“Each account goes through a vigorous process of various steps where all inconsistent or high accounts are flagged, investigated and corrected where necessary before being sent out to consumers,” he concluded.

 

To contest your municipal bill or to raise a formal dispute, residents can call the call centre on 0800-111-300 or go any of the following municipal offices/pay points:

  1. Bram Fischer Pay Point – Cnr Nelson Mandela Drive & Markgraaff Str, Bram Fischer Building, Bloemfontein
  2. Intermodal Facility – Shop A44, Intermodal Facility, Harvey road (New Taxi Rank)
  3. Hostel no1 Pay Point – Dr Belcher Road, Heidedal, Bloemfontein
  4. Leslie Monnanyane Pay Point – Regional Office, Cnr Moshoeshoe Road & George Lubbe Str, Rocklands, Mangaung
  5. Heidedal Pay Point – 10 Da Vinci Crescent, Heidedal
  6. Reahola Pay Point – Unit No 18A & B, Reahola Centre, Botshabelo
  7. Civic Centre Pay Point, Thaba Nchu – Civic Centre, 96 Stasie Street, Thaba Nchu
  8. Dewetsdorp Pay Point – 13Brand Street, Dewetsdorp
  9. Wepener Pay Point – 1154 Lebatla Street, Wepener
  10. Van Stadensrus Pay Point – 372 Marthinus Street, Van Stadensrus
  11. Soutpan Pay Point – 275 Nthunya Street, Ikgomotseng, Soutpan

 

Seithati Semenokane

seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za