JOHANNESBURG – The African National Congress (ANC) on Wednesday said it was against the new water tariffs in Cape Town because it said the City “manipulated peoples fear and vulnerability over the invented Day Zero armageddon”.
In a statement issued by the ANC in the Western Cape, the party said it was joining more than 80% of Cape Town residents who have strongly objected to the new water and sanitation tariffs, which include a R115 water delivery charge kicked in on Sunday.
The City of Cape Town says it has lost a substantial amount of revenue and restructuring the tariffs was one of the measures to ensure a sustainable source of income.
Democratic Alliance member and Councillor Xanthea Limberg, who oversees informal settlements, water, waste services and energy, is on record as saying: “The City has realised that the way in which the tariffs were structured hasn’t been resilient since the drought started”.
However, in the statement attributed to Provincial Secretary Faiez Jacobs the ANC said this year in March, the City sought to “manipulate peoples fear and vulnerability over the invented Day Zero armageddon by sneaking in a 26.9% tariff increase on water and sanitation. Residents of Cape Town may have been scared but they were not stupid”.
The ANC added: “Even though the City has since recoiled from that ridiculous high tariff, they have still not gone down enough, especially given the current water dam levels and rainfall.
“ANC condemns the City for treating its residents with disdain. On one hand they say they are trying to raise R3 billion for new bulk water projects and on the other hand, they have spent the last few months claiming bulk water supply is the sole responsibility of the National government and repeated that line like a broken record whenever they were called to account for their failures.”
Cape Town has faced serious water shortages due to poor rainfall during 2015, 2016 and 2017 winter seasons.
But the ANC said it demands that “all these water and sanitation tariff increases be in line with inflation. The material conditions that resulted in these exorbitant tariff proposals have changed drastically and we demand the City to follow suit. The City deserves water security but it should not break peoples backs”.
The ANC statement further said: “We reject the new tariff increases for households, whether its the 10.10% for those who consume less than 6kl a month or other consumption brackets as these are way above inflation. The conditions that warranted level six water punishment to consumers and these tariffs no longer exist and must be greatly eased.
“The ANC is going to challenge these unjustifiable increases in court and will galvanise all ‘Capetonians’ to march to the city and demand fair tariffs. This is a slippery slope that the City cannot be allowed go into. We cannot allow this thumb sucking of numbers.”‘
African News Agency