Withdrawal of Prepaid Electricity Matter
Residents who buy electricity for cash get only half the supply if their rates and services account is in arrears. The money is split in two and one half is, despite the wishes of the buyer, credited to the outstanding account.
Obviously, this practice makes people bitter, as it looks like cheating. No one who buys six eggs for cash expects the shop, without permission, to supply only three and put half the payment towards the reduction of the purchaser’s arrears account. Obviously, too, the practice causes hardship – we all know that electricity is essential for cooking, heating and lighting of residents, many of whom find it harder and harder to make ends meet.
No surprise, then, that in March this year the residents took to the streets to protest about being short-changed in this way.
We, The Ratepayers Association, responded to their demands and decided to seek a court interdict to stop the practice. After launching proceedings, we have unearthed a bylaw that actually gives the Municipality permission to act as it does. Though the Municipality did not rely on the bylaw in their answering papers, it would be unfair and unethical to proceed as though the bylaw did not exist.
We, therefore, think it would be both unwise and wrong to proceed with the litigation, and so propose to terminate it.
We still oppose this method of collection by the Municipality and regard the principle to be unfair towards the poorest section of the community, and are therefore not abandoning the campaign, but will be pursuing it at a political level.
We will also renew our efforts to monitor Municipal expenditure to contain costs and ensure that limited Municipal revenue is spent effectively.