Durban – eThekwini Municipality is looking to engage with the Ingonyama Trust to get residents living on its land to pay “something” for the services they receive.
The municipality revealed its willingness to consider charging a flat rate of R100 for some of its services.
Opposition party councillors welcomed the initiative, while others cautioned that the engagement should be thorough to avoid potential problems down the road.
Kaunda has previously raised the issue of residents living on Ingonyama Trust land, saying they built mansions in these areas and were benefiting from some of the city’s services like water, but were not paying for them.
While addressing the issue of water shortages, Kaunda said that due to an increase in the number of households in Adams Mission, certain parts of KwaMakhutha were now experiencing interruptions in water supply.
“What is compounding our woes is that, while most rural areas are accessing some of our services like water supply, they are still not paying for them. We are currently engaging the Ingonyama Trust with the intention of finding a lasting solution,” said Kaunda.
He said the council was looking to charge at least a standard payment of R100 from some of these areas, like Mbumbulu.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said this was a positive step.
“For too long we have had too many people using the service that too few are paying for. It’s going to be a long road to resolve that.
“The reality is that the city needs more revenue coming in, and more services that are funded.
“The Ingonyama issue is quite complicated and there are a lot of services on that land that people could afford to pay for, but they not paying for and this needs to be looked at as the financial sustainability of the city is increasingly compromised,” said Graham.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the issue of services in the Ingonyama Trust land was one of the reasons the budget was not passed on Tuesday, as there needed to first be engagement with residents.
“When you engage with people you put forward a proposal, and they put forward a counter-proposal; we do not want to have a situation where this is not done properly and we encounter more problems along the road,” said Nkosi.
EFF councillor Thabane Miya said the community that lived in these areas had complained that they were not getting some municipal services.
“For the municipality to be able to deliver these services, there must be something that the community is paying.”
The municipality yesterday reiterated the importance of residents paying for what they use.
“The city is providing all basic services in all rural areas within its borders. The city therefore feels that it needs to have a conversation with the Ingonyama Trust to see how these services can be paid for, as they don’t come cheap,” it said.