Many municipalities want to increase their tariffs in the new financial year starting in July. OUTA supporters told us how unhappy they are with any increases.  

OUTA Project Manager Tim Tyrrell says the City of Joburg budget – which includes increases to councillor and staff salaries – is an insult to the residents who have endured pay cuts, retrenchment or the closure of businesses in the name of flattening the curve. OUTA made a submission as part of the City’s budget process, opposing the tariff and pay increases.

In late June, the Auditor-General of SA reported to Parliament on the audits for municipalities for 2018/19. The report underlines the failures in municipal management: out of 257 municipalities, only 20 (8%) managed to achieve clean audits in 2018-2019, 33 (13%) got disclaimers with findings, while the audits of 28 municipalities (11%) were still outstanding.

OUTA supporters told us what they think of municipal increases:

Terrence Jacobs, Alberton 

“My electricity costs have risen. The hour per hour rate has gone up and up, but I’m very careful with my usage. It makes me angry, because we aren’t getting value for money. Most living expenses go towards paying for utilities, and there are no negotiations – if you don’t pay for the bad service, you just get cut off.” 

Sezer Uludag, Floracliffe 

“I suspect that the municipality is guessing my electricity usage. We pay a lot for these services, and they don’t care. Maintenance is not done properly. It’s all just going downhill. My daughter lost a tyre to a pothole recently, as did her boyfriend. We’ve had so many accidents in my area. And still no sign of the municipality.” 

Jan Tukker, Parkmore 

“I haven’t noticed any increases, but I watch my bills very closely. I’m not happy with my municipality. They don’t maintain anything and all you see are price increases, especially for water and electricity, and then we get power and water cuts! Instead of patching things up, government needs to rebuild completely.” 

Nicole Pickard, Sandton

“Increasing prices without consultation is what they do. I’m not happy with the service I get for the rates and taxes I pay, just look at the absolutely shocking state of our roads. Burst pipes everywhere, man-sized potholes – it’s a disgrace.” 

Michael Jones, Randburg 

“On the electricity side, I can understand why everyone is switching to pre-paid. I feel that I’m being overcharged for what I use. I need more justification from the municipality as to why they’re billing me what they are.” 

Hangwani Nemakonde, New Canada, Soweto

“I have no idea about the service costs here; I don't think they even pay for anything. Obviously, everyone is happy if they're getting everything for free.” 

Nic Meyer, Roodepoort

“I’m very concerned that they’re using the outbreak as an excuse to overspend on things that apparently combat the virus. But we still need basic service delivery. Life hasn’t ground to a halt due to Covid-19. I hope we don’t get read horror stories about procurement corruption after all this.”