Major tariff hikes for Durban’s ‘quality services’, says mayor

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 25, 2024


Durban residents and businesses will be paying a whole lot more for municipal services from the beginning of July.

The price of water, electricity, sanitation, refuse collection and rates will all go up.

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda last week announced the City’s draft budget of R67.3 billion for the 2024/2025 period, saying that it was constrained by a proposed Eskom tariff increase of 12.72% and an Umngeni-uThukela Water Board average increase of 9.5%.

Kaunda said: “The high fuel price and the price increase of other goods and services above inflation also constrain what can be done in the budget while also ensuring that tariff increases are reasonable to our residents’.

Kaunda said the draft budget was geared towards accelerated service delivery and that the council also wanted to create a positive investor climate to grow the economy and create jobs.

“We have certainly done a lot to change the lives of the people of eThekwini and this budget demonstrates that we remain committed to continue providing quality services, while growing the economy and creating sustainable jobs.”

The price of electricity will increase by 14% for residents and businesses. Kaunda said part of the R21.5bn set aside for electricity would be used to connect new prepaid customers and to provide free basic electricity to over 336 000 poor households in the municipality.

“We are unapologetic about servicing our poor residents,” he said.

He said they had also commissioned 17 new substations to make eThekwini “energy secure”.

Water, an issue of huge contention in the municipality which many have not had access to for several months, will increase by 14.9% for homes and businesses. Kaunda said the City had procured 55 water tankers and planned to add 100 additional tankers to that tally.

“In areas where there is sufficient ground water the City will continue to drill more boreholes, especially in rural areas.”

Residents and businesses will also pay 12.9% more for sanitation services from July. The refuse tariff will increase by 8% for residents and 9% for businesses. The proposed rates increase is 7.9%.

“These rates contribute to various municipal services, including engineering services, public safety, transport services, community and emergency services, human settlements, and economic development services,” Kaunda said.

Meanwhile, the eThekwini Ratepayers and Residents Association has started a petition in which it calls on residents to reject the increase in municipal tariffs.

Chairperson Ish Prahladh said they were not prepared to pay more for dwindling services.

The petition states: “The eThekwini Ratepayers and Residents Association and its affiliates say NO to these tariff increases! The residents of eThekwini Municipality, South Africa, are facing an unjust situation. The municipality is proposing increases in water, electricity, sanitation and refuse tariffs despite the poor service delivery that we are experiencing.”

The petition can be signed at https:// reject-ethekwini-municipality-s-tariff-increases

Sunday Tribune