Frustrated residents in the west of Pretoria have vowed to stop from paying rates and taxes to the City of Tshwane until their high and erroneous municipality bills have been scrapped.
Elderly homeowners yesterday picketed outside the municipality’s offices in Atteridgeville, where they threatened to reconnect their electricity, which had been disconnected because they had not paid the bills they do not agree with.
They said the City was failing the pensioners who were owing tens of thousands of rand in unpaid bills that did not make sense due to estimates and an “arrogant” staff that could not fix errors, but sent them from pillar to post. Leading the crowd was chairperson of Lotus Gardens, Atteridgeville, Soulsville Civic Association Tshepo Mahlangu.
He said the City of Tshwane was “ridiculous” to think that pensioners who received a grant of R1 900 could afford to spend R1 000 on rates and taxes and still be able to feed their families.
He said: “First of all, the City has known that it has a problem of high bills due to estimates instead of actual meter readings.
“)How does it make sense that these residents owe tens of thousands whereas they have been paying something per month.
“It’s not that the City does not know, they just do not take our people seriously. We gave them a memorandum 11 months ago but they did not even peruse the two-page document.
“We came here to meet the mayor Randall Williams, but they sent us somebody who was not relevant and did not have answers to our questions.
“Our resolution is that if they do not come back to reconnect the homes disconnected unfairly by the end of this week, we are going to do it ourselves because we have people that know electricity here.
“Our people have given us a mandate that they want a flat rate of R300 a month because they cannot afford these high bills. Their children lost jobs due to Covid-19.”
Renolda Monyai from Atteridgeville said the city sent her a R28 000 bill, but her family had been paying R500 monthly. Matshidiso Rabinda of Lotus Garden said she was furious because the City sent her a R146 000 bill in March last year, which they tried to dispute but they have not been able to. She said: “I am really tired and sad right now. We are unemployed, we are old, we are poor but we have to deal with this stress.”
Andrew Madlala of Soulsville said his family owed R20 000 because of financial difficulties while William Kaboyane from Lotus Garden disputed his R14 000 bill because he had consistently been paying R580 per month for a long time and did not understand how the City arrived at the “high figure”.
City chief of staff Jordan Griffiths urged residents who had problems to contact their ward councillors.