City needs to revisit its rates charges for services

Marc de Villiers, Pinelands

How can the City add any spurious surcharge they deem fit to my rates account? They may cite various bodies that have made this law; however it is non-legal law. My consent would make it legal.

What also makes it non-legal law is that no service is provided, for example, a home-user charge for electricity which is only provided for half the day!

In fact, in Pinelands, virtually no services are provided at all. The exception is on Sundays and public holidays (double pay) and the annual gutter sweeping. This has resulted in another surcharge for the city improvement district (CID), enabling us to do the work ourselves.

Being familiar with government and council tender procedures, I can categorically state that in virtually every step of the tendering process, the City has been remiss and then always dismissive of any complaints of corruption and the unqualified contractors used.

One example would be the contract to re-tar roads (totally unnecessary). Maybe as much as 5km of roads were not finished with the final application, the “hot mix”, leaving the affected roads far worse than before, with a sort of gravel finish. The contractor must have saved millions.

Another example being the Elsieskraal reserve area, where, for the past 20 years, walkways have never been swept, branches obstructing the walkway have never been cut back, benches have never been varnished or repaired, rubbish has never been picked up and paving has never completely been repaired (this after the City was informed many times of numerous falls and injuries sustained).

All partial repairs to paving have been sub-standard and start breaking up within months. No plants, trees or even compost have been provided.

Its constitutional jiggery-pokery, as is every spurious surcharge added to my rates account.

Mayoral committee member for urban waste management Grant Twigg responds:

In terms of complaints around litter, the banks of the Elsieskraal River/Canal are inspected twice a week and frequently cleaned when conditions deteriorate (including sanitising with a water tanker). There is a specific focus on the area under the bridge at Nightingale Way, Pinelands, which is occupied by a homeless community.