The city’s draft budget proposes that electricity goes up 14.4percent for homes and 15.5percent for businesses, and that water tariffs increase 15percent. The increases will be the latest after last week’s hefty petrol price increases.
The IFP member in the executive committee, Mdu Nkosi, said the increases would hit people hard. He said the increases could have been kept to single figures if the national and provincial governments did not waste money. The other challenge was that the bulk of people in Durban did not pay for their services, he said. This created a situation where people in formal housing were subsidising informal settlement residents. “It is unacceptable,” he said.
eThekwini municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the increases were for the 2019/20 financial year.
DA caucus leader Nicole Graham called for residents to reject the increases. Graham said a large amount of eThekwini’s water was being lost to leaks and theft. Eskom being mismanaged and the city’s rates base not growing were more reasons people were suffering unnecessarily. She urged people to reject the changes and to support the DA’s petition against the tariffs.
Bhungu Gwala, national chairperson of the National Freedom Party, said the government should focus on taxing the rich. He said the government could barely resolve the load shedding crisis and it was a disgrace there was still an increase in electricity tariffs.
The Daily News reported last week that residents of the Ugu district municipality had rejected a proposed 22% water price increase.