Ebrahim Rasool urges Capetonians to join water bill class action

ANC head of elections in WCape claims the City made a R1bn profit off the increased tariffs

Rasool urges more Capetonians to join ANC's 'Ramaphosa-backed' water bill class action

15 March 2019

The ANC in the Western Cape has urged more Capetonians to join its Western Cape High Court class action over high water bills.

In September, the ANC filed papers to challenge increased water tariffs after claiming that residents had told the party that their water bills were too high and they were not in a position to pay them off.

In the papers, it said it instituted the application "in response to exorbitant water accounts, faulty water meter devices, incorrect water billing, the violation of section 27 - the right to sufficient water - and unfair, unreasonable and irrational decisions of the City of Cape Town".

The party filed a notice of motion with the High Court on behalf of four applicants: Patrick Festus, Arthur Theys, Janual Hector and Lameez Souma.

But on Tuesday, ANC head of elections in the Western Cape Ebrahim Rasool told residents of Mitchells Plain that the party needed more people to join because it needed as many litigants as possible to get relief from the court. He said the class action had the support of ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

The ANC said Rasool would approach the court for a hearing date by April. Failing this, he said, the ANC's lawyers were under instruction to file for urgency.

ANC accused of 'politicking'

"We will say to the judges that they must hear the case in April because we don't want them (the City of Cape Town) to cover up before the election and just continue after the election as if nothing has happened," Rasool said.

Rasool claimed that the City had made a R1bn profit off the increased tariffs.

The ANC, he said, was seeking a court order that would scrap all the increases in tariffs and instruct the City of Cape Town to use the R1bn profit to wipe out all arrears.

The City of Cape Town has rejected the ANC's claims as "politicking, given the timing of their campaign which they think will benefit them at the polls".

Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste, said the City had not made any profit from the water bills.

"Our water and sanitation does not operate to make a profit but to cover all expenses related to rendering the service and maintaining the associated infrastructure," she said.

Rasool said the court would also be asked to rule that the names of people who had been blacklisted because they could not pay their water accounts should be removed from this list and that the water supply should be restored to homes where it has been suspended as a punitive measure.