WHAT A WASTE: Broken water meter spurts water
The Cape Town Water Crisis Coalition has called for an investigation into Water Management Devices (WMDs) by the City of Cape Town amid ongoing complaints.

The meters have been installed at homes where water usage is too high.

But the coalition is calling on the Public Protector to investigate as they say the meters are wasting more water than they save.

Coalition committee member, Faizel Davids, says they have been inundated with complaints as the meters are continually “popping”, causing water to run into the streets.

“There are two types of meters and they just continue to pop. There is something very wrong with these meters and there are discrepancies about when they are installed,” he says.

“So many people are complaining about arriving home and out of nowhere, a meter is installed. They operate like thieves in the night and hardly ever go and knock on the residents’ doors to inform them it is being installed.”

UPSET: Devices installed when mense ‘away’

Davids says more than R4 000 is added to residents’ rates bill to cover the cost of the device.

“This whole thing is a money-making scam! Why must people pay for something that is not working? This is why the coalition has discussed the matter with lawyers and we will be asking the Public Protector to investigate.”

The Tafelsig Activists Forum (TAF) says they too are gatvol of the problematic meters and have renamed WMDs “Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

TAF chairperson, Sulyman Stellenboom, says on 21 February, Mitchells Plain residents will march to the council office in Beacon Valley to demand action from the City.

“Everyday it is just complaints about water meters and besides the fact that these things are faulty, the billing is a problem,” he says.

“We don’t have an issue with the City curbing people who use too much water, but they get the billing wrong. Just look at me, I am never at home but I get a bill of R40 000 when I know I do not use so much water.”

Mayco member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services; and Energy, Xanthea Limberg, says the WMDs are being installed at homes where there is excessive water consumption, but these residents can apply for an exemption.

DISSATISFIED: Sulyman Stellenboom of Tafelsig

She confirms that the City has received complaints about faulty meters but says this is a “small percentage”.

She says the WMD contract was awarded to two companies, Aqualoc (Pty) Ltd and Sakikhaya Supplies.

The Daily Voice has learnt that several years ago, an investigation was done by the City into the Aqualoc tender, but the report was not made public.

City speaker Dirk Smit says he referred the matter to the City Manager, who in turn referred it to the City’s Forensic Department for investigation.

“As such, this matter is with the office of the (acting) City Manager,” he says.

Meanwhile, Limberg says the City will continue to increase the roll-out of WMDs and set daily usage limits on these WMDs for high consumers, indigent (poor) customers and as part of its debt management programme.

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