Press Statement dated 16 May 2018

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has totally rejected the City of Cape Town’s token reduction of severe water tariffs from 26.96% announced in the provisional budget in March to 19.9% as drastically too little. FEDUSA is among the tens of thousands of Capetonians who have petitioned against the onerous tariff increases

Acting mayor Ian Neilson says since the tabling of the draft budget in March, it has decided to make some adjustments. "After careful consideration of the comments on the proposed increases, as well as various portfolio committee meetings, workshops and discussions, the reduced revenue requirement has resulted in substantial changes to the proposed Water and Sanitation tariff increases." Households who use less than 6 kilolitres per month will now face a 10.10% increase, down from 55.16%,” said acting mayor Ian Nelson justifying the reductions that did not go down enough.

However, FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary Riefdah Ajam insisted that the so - called reduction by the City only just adds insult to injury and brings absolutely no relief to the working class, pensioners and the poor who have been saddled with exorbitant water bills, amidst putting all cost – savings measures in place to reduce consumption. “The cumulative effect of the exorbitant increases that Capetonians have incurred since reaching the level 6B water restrictions has become intolerable as the current proposal of 19.9% amounts to close to four times the current inflationary rate.

“Unlike electricity, water cannot be reproduced; it is simply not an infinite resource. The new proposals that have been tabled by the City are totally regressive and plunges the poorest into a state of increasing poverty as salary increases negotiated cannot even accommodate nor justify these tariff increases,” said Ajam.

Ajam remained adamant that the federation will intensify its campaign to have the tariffs levels further reduced, to minimise the suffocating effects that Capetonians are enduring. One cannot ignore the fact that there is growing sentiment that Capetonians have been misled, undue fear placed in their hearts and gaping holes left in their pockets, due to extraordinary expenses regarding Day zero.  

Cape Town is currently suffering the worst drought in decades forcing the City to impose onerous restrictions on residents who in turn are blaming the city fathers for poor forward planning. The crisis has also sparked intense debates about water rights and access with many calling on government to review water licensing regulations. FEDUSA will stringently pursue its Section 77 notice that has already been served on NEDLAC on this matter, concluded Ajam.

Issued by Riefdah Ajam, Deputy General Secretary, federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa)