Absolutely not! Ratepayers associations slam eThekwini Municipality’s proposed tariff increases

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda last week presented the City’s draft budget that included proposed tariff increases for residents and business. Picture: Supplied

eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda last week presented the City’s draft budget that included proposed tariff increases for residents and business. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 26, 2024


eThekwini Municipality residents have slammed the City’s draft budget for the 2024-2025 financial year.

Last week, eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda presented the draft budget, valued at approximately R67.3 billion. This budget comprises the proposed capital and operational expenditure for the financial year, along with the suggested tariff increases.

Outlining the proposed tariff increases, Kaunda said property rates will increase by 7.9% while the waste tariff could increase by 8% for residential properties and 9% for business.

The proposed property increase for sanitation services is 12.9% for both residential and business properties, while the proposed water tariff increase is 14.9% for both residential and businesses. Additionally, there is a proposed 14% increase in electricity tariffs for both homes and businesses.

The announcement comes on the back of an almost three-week long industrial strike by South African Municipal Workers Union-affiliated City workers that left parts of the municipality ankle-deep in filth. Several areas were also left without water and electricity after staff were unable to attend to call-outs.

Various ratepayer's associations have slammed the proposed increases.

Trash lies piled up outside the dump site on the Bluff. Picture: Se-Anne Rall/IOL

Chairperson for the Sydenham Ratepayers Association, Carl Lortan, said they strongly object to the proposed increases.

"The South African inflation Rate is 5,1% and these increases are grossly unfair on the residents who are struggling to make ends meet," he said.

Lortan expressed concern at the City wanting to impose increases when there are issues of unchecked water leaks, aged infrastructure and instances were sewage is often seen seeping onto Durban streets.

"Lastly, we as the SRPA are tired of being used as cash cows. There are no repercussions for the high irregular expenses that the municipality is experiencing. We read that municipal managers are suspended with pay are these monies returned. We as the ratepayers are tired of having to fund incompetency due to cadre deployment. We need the right people to be employed in these jobs," Lortan said.

Westville Ratepayers Association chairperson, Asad Gaffar, slammed the City’s executive council who did not stand up for residents.

“They should have rejected this tariff increase proposal and the failed to do so. The exco is made up of all political parties so any political parties coming out now in the public domain and screaming blue murder, they are being disingenuous and lying to their constituents and they need to be exposed,” he said.

The eThekwini Ratepayers & Residents Association has started an online petition calling for residents to say no to the proposed increase.

The ERRA said service delivery has been an ongoing issue and there have been numerous complaints over inconsistent water supply, frequent power outages and disastrous sanitation practices.

"We believe it is unfair for the municipality to increase tariffs when they cannot deliver reliable services. We call on all residents of eThekwini Municipality to stand together against this proposed tariff increase until we see significant improvements in service delivery," the association said.

The Glenwood Bulwer Ratepayers and Residents Association added that a tariff increase of this magnitude will have far-reaching consequences for the community.

As per the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) once the budget is tabled, it will undergo a public participation process thereafter the budget comes before Council for final approval.