High Water Bill Plunges Tembisa Household Into Darkness

South Africa - 200319. Eskom’s Stage 4 load shedding continues to disrupt lives. Ordinary South Africans, however, make the most of the inconvenience caused by the power utility’s inability to provide sufficient electricity due to maintenance and other issues. Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

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Since Saturday 8 August 2020, the residents of 44 Hosi Mhinga Street in Isithama section, Tembisa on the East Rand have been without electricity. An entire week has passed since the residents last had power and it seems another week will dawn without them being re-connected.

The tenants, including landlord, Hunter Hadebe, have had to resort to using primus stoves to cook and boil water. A tenant who also runs a salon in the yard has had to plug a cable next door in order to power his machines.

The house had its power cut because of a massive water bill. The bill is estimated around R113 000. To force Hadebe to pay; the authorities have resorted to the strategy of cutting off electricity supply to the yard. Hadebe, who is suspicious of the hefty bill, said he called plumbers to see where the problem lay. “I called three plumbers and they didn’t find anything wrong,” he said. “They [the municipality] want R113 000.”

Six days after losing electricity, municipal workers visited the house. After checking the meter box which ticked continuously, they confirmed Hadebe’s suspicions. The massive bill was due to a fault in Hadebe’s plumbing system. In contrast, the meter next door (where electricity is running smoothly) is almost at a standstill.

Unable to locate the problem, the municipal workers promised to report the incident. On Saturday 15 August 2020, a full week of the Hadebe residency being without water, a lone municipal worker arrived to remove the meter box. As a result, there won’t be a hefty bill to pay. With the water issue almost resolved, nothing was done in regards to returning electricity to the household. Another week without electricity beckons for the household.

This article was submitted on 18 August 2020. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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