Minister Richard Baloyi has urged the Ratanda community to participate in the current municipal public consultation programme to introduce new electricity tariffs as this would give them an opportunity to have a say in the policy.
Minister Baloyi was addressing the community in a meeting organized by government this week to give a feed back on interventions to solve complaints which were raised during the recent community protests in Ratanda Township.
The community of Ratanda Township, which falls under Lesedi Local Municipality in Gauteng, has accused the municipality of not consulting with the residents when deciding on new electricity tariffs. The electricity tariffs and billing were cited as one of the burning issues which led to violent protests in the township recently.
“The municipality has commenced with consultations (for the new electricity tariffs) for the financial year starting in July 2012 and we call on all interested people to participate in this matter according to the municipality’s programme, “said minister Baloyi.
He told the Ratanda community that following the recent community protests an intergovernmental task team was formed to work with the Ratanda Community Forum and other community leaders to resolve the community’s service delivery challenges.
In reference to disputed electricity bills the minister said the Lesedi Local Municipality would limit the use of estimated electricity usage and closely monitor the work of a meter reading contractor so that meters are read and reliance on estimates is reduced.
He also assured the community that the municipality would open a Service User Support Office to resolve municipal account queries on time and ensure that municipal services are billed separately.
“Default payment, including (accounts) in arrears, will be managed in strict compliance with the policies of the municipality (and will be) directed to each service,” said Minister Baloyi.
Meanwhile, minister said the municipality would improve implementation of its indigent policy which would allow poor people who cannot afford municipal services to access free basic services.
He said new applicants who qualify to participate in the policy would be recognised within three months and the quarterly ward council meetings would monitor the implementation of the policy.