Soweto residents are costing the City of Johannesburg just shy of R90 million annually because of unpaid water bills.
According to Times Live, the CoJ has collected a mere R9.1 million from the R100 million owed by 138,723 prepaid meters installed in Soweto.
It was revealed earlier this year, during the height of the Eskom electricity crisis, that Soweto residents owed as much as half of South Africa’s R8 billion electricity debt to Eskom.
Some of Soweto’s residents said they felt entitled to free electricity as it was one of the things promised to them when the country gained democracy in 1994.
Times Live reported that Johannesburg Water has previously admitted that most of the meters have been illegally bypassed.
“To resolve this problem a weekly meeting has been scheduled, at which analysis of data is done, including progress on the bylaw enforcement (cut-offs),” a report, given to the city’s environment and infrastructure services committee, said.
“The poor performance for the year is attributed to project stoppages due to community hostility and poor performance from the contractors.”
Contractors installing the meters have been met with resistance by residents, as the CoJ has enforced bylaws to gain access to read meters and install new prepaid ones.
The water bill revelation is not new to Soweto. Six years ago, the Star reported that residents owed the City of Joburg R452 million for water, while the council also admitted that it did not cut off non-paying residents.