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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Crisis-ridden eThekwini tariff hikes may hit poll outcome

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Hope Ntanzi

The proposed increase in municipal tariffs in eThekwini has sparked protests and resistance by residents and could influence their voting choices in the upcoming national and provincial elections.

Against a backdrop of a deteriorating economy and poor service delivery, the proposed tariff hikes – including property rates (7.9%), waste removal (8%), sanitation (12.9%) and water (14.9%) – have outraged many residents.

The adjustments were announced last week by Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda when he presented his R62.3 billion draft budget for the crisis-ridden metro.

Durban Central resident Zethembile Nkabini said: ‘’As it is, I find it difficult to make ends meet. The rate rise can be compared to a punch in the face.’’

Other residents complained about a lack of accountability and openness in the manner in which decisions are made.

Small business owner, Christopher Zondi said: “We were caught off-guard by the tariff hike. There was no discussion, no explanation.

‘’When our elected representatives decide things that directly affect our lives without seeking our input, how can we possibly trust them?’’

Political activism and mobilisation has turned the proposed tariff hikes into a focal point. Residents are being marshalled by community leaders and local organisations to scrutinise the agendas of political candidates and demand responsibility from current officials.

According to activist Thabo Mthethwa, the hikes are a “wake-up call” for complacent voters.


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