uMhlanga residents join in objections to tariff hikes

Ratepayers in uMhlanga are the latest to express their fierce opposition to the tariff increases that have been proposed. PIcture: Facebook

Ratepayers in uMhlanga are the latest to express their fierce opposition to the tariff increases that have been proposed. PIcture: Facebook

Published Apr 19, 2024


Ratepayers in uMhlanga are the latest to express their fierce opposition to the tariff increases that have been proposed in the eThekwini Municipality’s draft budget for the new financial year.

The ratepayers expressed their views during a community meeting at Greenwood Park community hall on Wednesday afternoon.

They said the tariff hikes were high and could not be justified in light of the poor service delivery.

They outlined a litany of service delivery failures, prompting councillor Thembo Ntuli, who led the City’s political delegation at the meeting, to point out that there seemed to be a disconnect between the people, the councillors and the City workers.

He said some of the concerns raised by residents were service delivery matters that should have been addressed prior to the budget meeting.

Earlier in the week, the City had met with the business community who also complained about the increases.

Terri Maclarty, uMhlanga Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association chairperson, said they totally rejected the increases.

“Money (grants) had been sent back by the municipality to the government and now they (the municipality) are expecting the ratepayers to pay for housing, which is government expenditure.

“Our sanitation is in a dire state and we are being asked to pay for maintenance expenses that have not been met before. There has also been wasteful expenditure,” she said.

Another ratepayer, Sbo Khumalo, said the draft budget showed the City did not care about the very people that generated its revenue.

“We completely object to this budget. There is nothing here that is for us ratepayers, the people bringing in the money for the municipality. We feel the municipality does not take care of us, does not care about us, or is not interested in improving our lives.

“As ratepayers we are not getting the services we should be getting despite the fact that we pay for rates and services every month,” said Khumalo.

Jacky Barrington, also from uMhlanga, said: “The sewage thing is out of hand. We have sewage dripping into where our cars are parked. The last time we had meter readings done was in May 2023. We have absolutely no idea what we really owe the council and whether it is being properly measured.”

She said ratepayers could not afford these massive increases. “Many people are going to lose their homes and poor people can't eat. This really needs some careful thinking.”

Anil Beekrum of the Kenville and Sea Cow Lake Residents and Ratepayers’ Association said their areas had been neglected for many years.

“Infrastructure is ailing, and the area has become a dumping ground for informal settlements – there are 28 informal settlements. In the last 15 years. no RDP houses have been built. If shacks (are) burned, people are not provided with houses. They rebuild the shacks.”

He said street lights did not work, and had not been working for three to four years.

“These increases we do not agree to. They (should be) put on hold for another 12 months until these issues are sorted. I don’t see why you should increase any rates,” he said.

Jacques Poupard, another uMhlanga resident, said: “I’m very sure that if you spoke to more people 99.9% of these people would say, hell no! We reject your 14% increase and other significant increases on the basis that you are not delivering services.

“You want us to trust you with more money when we can’t trust with the money you’ve got already.

“eThekwini has 4.3 million people and 80% of the rates are paid by 150 000 people. It is unsustainable. I am sick and tired of seeing our neighbours and friends move to the Western Cape and overseas because Durban has become ‘un-investable’ and inhabitable, so I reject the budget and I believe significant changes are needed and are overdue,” he said.

Councillor Ntuli assured the community that the matters they had raised about the budget would be considered by the different committees involved.

The Mercury