Pretoria - Angry city residents who could face the long weekend without water and electricity formed a long queue at the City of Tshwane’s Centurion offices yesterday to find out why their water and lights had been cut despite their accounts being up to date.
The residents had proof of payment attached to their accounts and said their water and electricity were cut without any warning.
Marius de Meyer, of Lyttelton, said he was furious because his account was not in arrears.
“My electricity was cut on Thursday afternoon and my wife came in to try [to] sort it out. She also paid the amount that was due on the 25th of this month in the hope that they would switch the power back on immediately. She was not given any explanation as to why the power had been cut and when she asked to speak to a senior council employee for an explanation, she was referred to their offices in the CBD,” he said.
De Meyer said they have been told that their power would be switched on within 48 hours.
“That is absolutely ridiculous. I have a toddler and an 18-month-old baby at home. Why should my family now be without power for the entire weekend because of a mistake made by the council?” he asked.
David Mabila, of Thatchfield in The Reeds, had the same problem.
“My electricity was also cut yesterday afternoon without any warning,” he said.
Mabila said he paid his account via the internet and had the proof with him. “I was also told that it would take 48 hours for the power to be switched back on. My biggest concern is my four-year-old son who is asthmatic.
“He makes use of oxygen on a regular basis and we can’t operate the gas cylinders without any power,” he said.
Annalie Jacobs, of Rooihuiskraal, said
: “I found a blue notice stuffed into my post box saying my [water] account of R2 601.26 was in arrears, but that amount does not reflect on any of my last three months’ statements,” she said, adding that she had all her statements as well as proof of payment with her. “I am very angry and now they have the nerve to charge me a service fee of R551 to cut off my water,” she said.
City spokesman Phalane Motale said the city would only be able to investigate the circumstances that led to the disconnection of services and the delay in the reconnection after receiving account details of the residents.
He said it was council policy that electricity was usually restored within 48 hours after receipt of payment, although in most instances it was restored within a few hours.
“Without the account details, it is difficult to verify payment, but it is council policy that if consumers default, credit control processes will commence on accounts that are 30 days in arrears. The process commences with a 14-day final demand and in the absence of payment or an arrangement for payment, the services to the property will be terminated and in the case of prepaid, would be restricted,” he said.
Solly Msimanga, the DA leader in Pretoria, said he was worried about service delivery, especially when it came to customer care services in the city. “People are lucky if their calls are answered and in the event that a call is answered, the problem is hardly ever resolved.
“Although I cannot comment as to why the power was cut, I can say that it is an issue that will be raised with the mayor [Kgosientso Ramokgopa],” he said.
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