eThekwini Municipality: Society up in arms against proposed municipal tariff hikes

Durban City Hall

Durban City Hall

Published May 3, 2023


Durban — “The costs of appliances that are used in the restaurant and other food outlets are too high, and the challenge of damage caused to these appliances by these rampant power cuts is a hard pill to swallow, yet this municipality wants us to fork out more for the tariffs that we don’t see any use of in our hard-struck businesses.”

These were the words of a Florida Road businessman, who asked to remain anonymous for what he called business reasons.

eThekwini Municipality has recently proposed tariff increases for the 2023-2024 financial year, which are going to be effected on July 1.

The businessman said when it rains, Florida Road becomes a floodplain, with water gushing down the streets, sometimes almost flooding business entrances, because the storm drainage in the area is clogged and never cleaned.

“Problems of load shedding, refuse removal, damage to appliances, staff getting robbed while on their way home after work, (and) clients getting robbed and mugged by criminals that have infiltrated this area after the murder of AKA (abound),” he said.

“Some businesses are closing down, and people lose their jobs, hence their livelihoods. How can this municipality, then, continue asking for us to fork out more on tariffs and other services, yet they do nothing for the people out there, as well as business that they are for ever milking?

“Four of my staff members have been robbed and mugged while on their way home in as many months. Every month I spend thousands of rands to repair broken appliances because of the effects of load shedding.

“As the Florida Road business community we have had to mobilise ourselves and beef up security around the area, because of the wave of criminality that has moved up from Point Road, to the CBD, Umgeni Road, and now inching closer up to here, to threaten our businesses, and thus affecting general livelihoods.

“I therefore fail to fathom how the municipality and government keep increasing tariffs, and the interest rates, which cause the ever sky-rocketing cost of living and food prices that has hit millions of people in this country,” said the concerned businessman.

Another store manager said in Florida Road alone, about four businesses have closed since the murder of rapper and celebrity AKA, who was shot outside the Wish restaurant in Florida Road earlier this year.

The survey further revealed that the rising interest rates are affecting home owners and triggering home sales.

A restaurant manageress said, “It doesn’t matter what we say, this municipality will continue and implement these already sky-high tariff increases.”

Meanwhile, in recent research statistics, BankservAfrica said the cost of living in SA had reached crisis proportions.

It said that the Take-home Pay Index showed that life in SA became more expensive for salaried workers in March, amid rising food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation.

Muzi Khumalo, of Davenport, said people were already living in debt, and to make matters worse there were no jobs.

“The Covid-19 pandemic destroyed many lives, plus the July 2021 riots almost put the economy of this country on its knees.

“We appeal to the government to create job opportunities, for the people to be able to fend for themselves, instead of giving them grants.

“As the saying goes, you must teach a man how to fish, instead of giving him fish.

“This grant system in this country is unsustainable, and it is about time the government woke up and smelled the coffee. The cost of living in this country is too high and the ever-increasing municipal tariffs and interest rates are killing the citizens.

“Business is also getting affected by all these increasing rates. I have recently closed my guest house because of these bank-breaking increases.”

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