Residents furious over extra charges

The City of Cape Town’s plan to slap homeowners with an extra R240 monthly charge for electricity came under fire at the meeting of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association last week.

The proposal – due to have gone before council yesterday, Tuesday May 30, for approval – will see all domestic-tariff customers with homes valued over R1 million moved to the home-user tariff, which will add the R8.21 a day electricity service charge.

About 20 residents attended the ratepayers’ meeting on Thursday May 25. One of them said he had only learnt about the proposal in the City’s draft 2017/2018 budget after the objection period closed in April.

A woman said the City was punishing residents who had listened to its appeals to use less electricity: now that residents were saving electricity, the City had less income.

“Our free water is being taken away without consultation. We are being penalised because we did exactly what the City asked us to do,” she said.

The budget proposal also scraps the free six kilolitres of water for houses valued over R400 000.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg reminded residents that they had had a chance to air their views on the proposal at the budget meeting in Parow on Thursday April 6 (“Residents air complaints at budget meeting,” Northern News, April 12).

Ward 26 councillor Franchesca Walker said very few residents from the two wards had attended that meeting.

However, another resident said the April 6 meeting had been a sham and questioned why paying customers should have their benefits taken away. “Because we pay rates and taxes, we should be getting benefits,” he said.

Former Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Chris Theron asked what the City’s motives were. “Wat is die Stad besig om te doen? Om ons te verarm? Om ons uit ons huise te kry, moet ons verkoop?”

Referring to the DA administration, he asked: “Should we turn our backs on them?”

Current chairman Brian Lawson said residents should not depend on the association to keep them up to date – people should phone their councillors or the municipality. But conceding that the plan would affect many in suburb, he said: “I don’t think there is a three-bedroom house in Goodwood under a million rand.”

Ms Van Rensburg said apart from rates and taxes, the City also derived its income from grant funding and the national treasury.

“We must be realistic. Other areas must be subsidised. There are inequalities that must be corrected,” she said, asking residents to consider “the bigger picture”
The next meeting of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association is on Thursday June 29, at 7pm, at the council chambers in Molteno Street.