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The Terrible Triplett

Current Water Affairs.

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Does any of the City of Cape Town Metro or any other Western Cape municipality residents know whether their municipality implemented water tariffs that were higher than those approved during the 2017/18 budget process and from what date. Increasing rates or tariffs during the financial year is prohibited in terms of Section 28(6) of the Municipal Finance Management Act except for financial restructuring which I guess would mean the municipality is insolvent. The Act does provide for the Minister of Finance to grant exemption of the mentioned section which then Finance Minister Gigaba did for certain municipalities and subject to certain conditions and it was published in the Government Gazette on 10 November 2017. Any tariff increases before that date would therefore be in contravention with Section 28(6) and clearly illegal. The exemption is available on the website of the Treasurary for download.

I am investigating the matter as far as our water tariffs are concerned and knowledge of what happened elsewhere will be of value.

 

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5 hours ago, ebrsa said:

Increasing rates or tariffs during the financial year

Here is a comparison of my bills (sensitive information blurred). Note that the one is from July 2017, the month when the rates increase, but it is clearly indicated. You can see the rate increase, the free portion goes away and the rate increases markedly.

 

 

bill_comparison.jpg

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Here is ours.

I am arguing about the water, there is no ways on the earth that we are using 6000l, up from 5kl - therein me wanting to read my water meter electronically. It is new, could be a calibration problem.

Electricity I took off, as we are now on PAYG. It does add another level of saving. :-) 

 

Feb comparison.png

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2 hours ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

there is no ways on the earth that we are using 6000l

to my knowledge the guys who have to read the water meter hardly ever do an exact job, i mostly get an estimate. but these days an estimate could become an expensive operation.

my neighbour has been keeping a daily record of his water meter readings for some years now, taking a reading every morning at about 0900; i take photos of the reading with my phone [hey now that's something none of us would have thought possible 20 years ago :-)].

if you can't trust the president don't trust the meter reader [or milk man] - or the meter itself for that matter; had an uncle who found out his texas instruments calculator gave strange computations - they exchanged it hush hush....;)

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8 minutes ago, gabriel said:

... the guys who have to read the water meter hardly ever do an exact job ...

Readings say it is actual ... BUT!!! With the old meter the reader guy said no-one was home, month after month, always estimated - and we work from home. :-)

Filed a complaint and wham, it was read - then we realised we where paying for 1000's of liters of water we never got. So meter was replaced free of charge.

So, apparently maybe could be that the new one can be read from up to a 1000m away, with other meters, by one central device. In Germany they can use that to trace burst pipes on your property for example. Data is instant.

So, if I can confirm that mine has the right device on it, I can read it via Bluetooth Opto Head + Software, same as the meter reader walking or driving past.

So ideally I want to electronically pull the data myself and IF I am wrong, catch the culprit in the house overusing. :ph34r:

Or, the meter is incorrectly calibrated.

 

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@Energy wrote "...pull all the political discussions into this thread..." - just before we get to technical in here... so please at least give your inputs a political angle [like blaming the da or anc or better yet the khoisan/neanderthal liberation front or whatever] :ph34r:

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What you want to check is whether any tariff or rate, but particularly the water tariff increased after 1 July 2018 and 10 November 2018. Of course you rates and tariffs will change on the July account as that is the first month of the financial year. Compare that with the tariffs approved by your council as reflected in the tariff list. The tariff list and many other documents can be downloaded from your municipality's website. I compare other municipalities' budgets yearly with that of Swartland, where I live, as chairman of the Yzerfontein Residents' Association, an onerous task but if one does not take on the council about some unacceptable decisions they will run wild. I had an hour and a half meeting about our water tariffs with the mayor, municipal manager and financial director about a week ago and this matter is far from finalised. These officials out here in the rural areas still talk to taxpayers but I guess it will be an uphill struggle in a metro like Cape Town. Besides there is absolutely no assurance that they will always be right, so taxpayer beware. We have proven them wrong on more than one occasion which makes all the many hours of research worth while.

Like I said in my previous post, download the ministerial exemption from Section 28(6) of the MFMA from Treasury's website and see if your municipality is mentioned. If not and their water tariffs increased above the approved tariff for the financial year, they acted in contravention with law unless they have evidence of exemption. We are having enough irregularities where the public purse is concerned to allow it where we could possibly make a difference. We taxpayers are after all the folks who fork out the money to be managed with due responsibility by those we have entrusted as custodians of our money.

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1 hour ago, ebrsa said:

... an onerous task ...

As true and sound as the advice and suggestions are re. check your rates and taxes, it is a huge job as you say.

Me as an individual would rather spend some of that time and stir with some political adverse post to ensure we meet @gabriel 's request for more "like blaming the da or anc or better yet the khoisan/neanderthal liberation front or whatever". Hold on Gabriel, am waiting for the next juicy political incorrect subject to come across my desk start the next post on. :D

But  @ebrsa, truth be told, as the payments increased in the last few years, our bill become less. See, as the rates go up, so I lower our consumption without making things "uncomfortable" for SWAMBO.

As such, I am paying less now what I THINK I paid 3-5 years ago. And I am nowhere near some of you guys ito electricity. 

And water, watch this space. Been washing with rainwater the last few weeks now, with that going to toilets. Not a municipal drop of water went down the drain.  

On top of my lower contributions, all the Axpert users here have contributed to even more losses in income for even more municipalities, and the Gov, with 15% VAT. :-) 

 

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57 minutes ago, ebrsa said:

Of course you rates and tariffs will change on the July account as that is the first month of the financial year.

True, I suspect that is directed at TTT? The picture I posted does show the new rates. I grabbed two bills on my table (I'm not a very neat person in that respect) and it happened to be July 2017, but because it ran for 30 days from the 18th of the previous month they did a pro-rata split and it show both rates. The March bill on the right clearly shows that water has gone up from that.

If the 6kl free part had remained (I don't see how, seeing as the average household is expected to stay below that), I would have been paying around R50/month. Instead I am paying R200, down from R360 last year... but for a third of the water.

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40 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

what do you think?

“People thank God for the rain but blame politicians for the drought.”- neilson

no, blame [most] politicians for mismanagement, or is it a 'drought' of grey matter ?

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I liked this part, stop waffling and negotiate, just "Nike" it.

5. Protests won’t stop the tariff increase

The 26.9% Increase on water and sanitation is to help fund the R1.5-billion plan to fully implement augmentation and desalination technologies in Cape Town. In Neilson’s mind, this tariff is a necessary evil. The only way to get the money to fund these projects, he reasons, is through tariff increases. The taxpayers would fund these projects no matter when they happened. Neilson posits: “It’s a question of when you pay for it rather then do you need to pay for it.”

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7 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

It’s a question of when you pay for it rather then do you need to pay for it.”

i must be getting senile, but the grammar and logic of this statement is faulty; i suppose what he wanted to say is something like "its not a question of when, but how much" or "it is a question of paying for water or not getting it" or something... :huh:

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58 minutes ago, gabriel said:

the grammar and logic of this statement is faulty

He's saying that it is not question of IF we're going to pay for it... It is WHEN we're going to pay for it. Now (in tariff increases) or some time in the future through some other increases and/or via taxes of some kind.

At least the man is calling a spade by its name.

It's not new either. The same is true with Eskom. Each time we manage to avoid a steep tariff increase, we delay the inevitable. At some point, treasury always gives them a rescue package... which is funded out of tax. Same with SANRAL. They lost the battle to make the N1 and N2 toll roads, for now... but the noises are already there that it will have to be paid for in some different manner. It is not a matter of IF you will pay for it, it is a matter of WHEN... and sometimes also WHO. That's what makes the VAT increase so controversial: The answer to the WHO question wasn't popular :-)

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In conclusion for me at least.

We as a city used too much water.
CoCT made a ton of money out of that. 

So a lot of hype was built around the DayZero saga, rates where increased, to scare the dinges out of all of us (it worked), and was driven primarily by Lille. Which in a sense was the right thing to do, we are using less water.

But why else would Lille do this? Probably to get underhanded contracts in place for her sister and her sisters cronies, a get rich quick scheme in DA country. It failed.

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50 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

CoCT made a ton of money out of that. 

I don't know about that. The bulk of the income in Cape Town is in property taxes. They are almost as good as the Romans were when it comes to extracting such taxes, going solely by property values and making sure everyone who owns a place over 300k pays  up. I don't think water factored much into income, which is not to say that it didn't matter, I just remember that the same rumours went around with Electricity: that they are making tons of money off it. Now electricity makes up a significantly larger part of their income than water, but even that is reportedly smaller compared to the property taxes.

55 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Which in a sense was the right thing to do, we are using less water.

Correct. It is what Windhoek did in 1996. It works.

57 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

But why else would Lille do this?

I've grown disappointed with this lady. I believe that you judge people based on two things, 1) the raw material they have to work with, 2) their overall track record in terms of virtue. She scored high in my book because she appeared to be a person of integrity, being the original whistle blower and all. I never put much faith into the allegations of her so-called security upgrades (I'm sure she could afford them herself), and I really didn't know what to think about the big fight between her and Smith... but then she attended an EFF thing the other day, on invitation. Not that it was wrong... of course not... but that seems like an odd thing to do, a bad move in politics. Like our own Mama Winnie who later in life forced a traffic officer to apologise for doing his job... it sort of sullies the image she had before. Perhaps not enough to completely condemn them to the political waste basket... but it is certainly unfortunate.

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2 hours ago, plonkster said:

It is not a matter of IF you will pay for it, it is a matter of WHEN

and that is the ultimate bottom line of everything EXCEPT if someone picks up the bill for you... :D

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1 hour ago, plonkster said:

She scored high in my book ...

I never thought much of her, because of "one settler one plane ticket".

She is a worry now that she is in a corner, EFF rally was just the start I think.

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-04-13-analysis-the-rebellious-side-of-patricia-de-lille-is-back-and-the-da-should-watch-out/#.WtCkXXpuaUk

Lets see if she keeps her head straight, that she did not mislead Cpt all this time, as some DA members allege. No-one is saying a word though.

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1 hour ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

No-one is saying a word though.

Romans 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one..." we all have our skeletons ;)

or can that be

Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?"???

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Most municipalities act like the Mafia, practicing extortion with their water tariffs. Increases in tariff levels being implemented is left to the council to decide and we all know how that worked out. Increasing a tariff is a politically unpopular decision so apparently left until a crisis developes. Increasing tariffs by 5% or so at a time is nothing other than extortion as it probably has little if any effect on water consumption.

Municipalities can all learn from Mossel Bay who had to install a desalination plant urgently some years ago. Now the water tariff increases by 50% when the Wolwedans dam reaches 50% of capacity and the tariff doubles when the dam reaches 30% of capacity. I bet residents watch the dam level and save water as a matter of course to avoid reaching even the 50% level. Ongoing water saving is what is required and this simple and effective system clearly is based on sound logic. Our residents's association in Yzerfontein has been urging the Swartland municipality for years to adopt the same tariffs and institute a minimum charge as well but the excuse was always that residents cannot afford it. Now in the draft budget there is a minimum charge and increasing levels of several brackets like Mossel Bay but emergency level increases are again at minimal extortion percentages and left to council approval. One wonders when the miraculous economic prosperity happened in Swartland to enable residents to be able to suddenly afford the new tariffs. I foresee more of the same of the past year with the council leaving matters to the point of no return and then resorting to water saving limits that could have been avoided if the elegant and simplistic but effective method of Mossel Bay was implemented. 

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did any of you ever see a medium and long term plan for the water supply situation in the greater Cape Town area? Are you confident that if there is such a plan that it will be implemented and that we will NEVER have to flush our toilets with buckets again? Until I see a realistic plan and feasible implementation commitment I am not convinced. As far as I am concerned there is absolutely no reason why we should not always have all the water we need and want. The technology is available to provide this without any pollution and at an affordable price.

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