The municipality said they had to stop this after realising the mistakes themselves.
The Steve Tshwete local municipality in Middelburg has put on hold its tariff increases following the violent protest by community members last week.
The municipality said the increases will be put on hold for only 30 days.
This is a decision of a special council meeting that sat last week Friday and discussed the issue, municipal spokeswoman Prudence Makgutle said – adding that council resolved that those who still owe the municipality should be allowed to buy electricity without being charged extra money for previous debts.
Residents last week took to the streets of Mhluzi to protest against the billing system, following a huge increment in rates.
Makgutle said they were merely fixing the billing system and never met to upset the community members.
“The increase in rates was us correcting the billing to ensure that each stand is billed according to how it’s used. The AG said we should charge businesses according to their tariff as they are making money instead of charging them household tariff,” Makgutle said.
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Some Middelburg residents said they were shocked when they received their municipal statements to find that their bill has more than doubled, while others say they no longer qualify for the indigent grant.
Makgutle said the reason was that they found that some people who were listed as indigent have died and those left occupying the residence were found to be still paying municipal rates as indigents – and the municipality had no choice but to remove them from the database.
“Those who have their accounts blocked, we have unblocked them to enable residents to buy electricity. However, they should note that they have 30 days to come forward to deal with the concerns they have about their accounts,” said Makgutle.
(edited by MGB)
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