Cape Town – From Monday, reduced water tariffs kick in, but the City is still milking ratepayers as it has in August alone raked in R405 million more on water than planned.
These and other over recovery amounts were recorded in the City’s financial report for August, which will be presented to the finance portfolio committee today.
According to the Municipal Finance Management Act, the City’s accounting officer must by no later than 10 working days after the end of each month submit to mayor Patricia de Lille a statement of the municipality’s budget at the end of each month.
The City’s chief financial officer, Kevin Jacoby, said in a report that the water and sanitation service charges currently reflected an over-recovery.
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“(This is) when comparing the revenue billed with the revenue budgeted. The reason for such over-recovery is primarily due to some customers still consuming water in excess of the restriction levels. Water consumption at the higher levels is charged at punitive tariffs (which was set to prevent usage at these levels in the first instance) resulting in the revenue amounts higher than the budgeted service charges,” he said.
There was an over-recovery amount of R105m for sanitation charges.
In the report, Jacoby also expressed the City’s appreciation for the responsible consumers that were adhering to the water restrictions and making their monthly payments.
However, he said the billing of revenue, unfortunately, does not convert into payments in all cases.
“There are still consumers, including those consuming water in excess of the restriction levels at punitive tariffs, in both the non-indigent and indigent categories who are not paying their accounts. To collect the amounts due and contain high usage, the City continues to focus on restricting the non-paying customers and rolling out the installation of water management devices as part of the indigent leaks project,” he said.
Stop COCT founder Sandra Dickson said the City was carefully planning the tariffs to ensure it kept making money.
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“They know that reducing the tariffs will be good for residents, but they lift the daily usage limit. This means that the tariffs might be lowered, but now they allow you to use more water per day. So the more you use, the more you will pay. The only way to beat the City at its game is to keep on saving water.”
ANC provincial elections head Ebrahim Rasool said the party would head to court this week to apply for an urgent court order between the ANC and the City.
Meanwhile, the City has listed under expenditures on its budget.
Employee costs saw an R391.6m under expenditure mainly due to the turnaround time in filling vacancies and the internal filling of vacant positions.
Opposition parties have opted to respond once the report has been tabled. It has been recommended that the report be referred to mayoral committee for remedial action, where required.
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