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Friday Oct 12, 2012

Logic-defying bills plague Joburg property owners

The confusing bills issued by the City of Joburg's revenue department continue plaguing residents.

The City of Joburg is charging David Gadney over R2 million for an empty building in Benrose that has neither lights nor water connected.

This despite the fact that the city is claiming to be making headway in eliminating problems such as over-inflated bills.

  • David Gadney is desperate. He is sitting with a bill for almost R2.2 million for electricity and water for an empty building.

    He purchased a dilapidated building in Benrose in 2010 and is slowly renovating it.

    He took transfer and paid for a clearance certificate, so all the accounts were up to date.

    "I have not occupied the place. Neither the geysers nor the lights work, yet I have been receiving these outrageous bills since last year," he said.

    Gadney said that to add insult to injury, unknown water meter numbers are now appearing on his bills.

    He has done everything he can - visited Jorissen Street, sent mails, faxes and received numerous reference numbers, but nothing is ever done.

    "I am now desperate, I no longer know what to do. It is very easy to fix - all they have to do is take the current meter readings, subtract the ones at the date I purchased the building and they will get to the correct amount I owe."

  • Judith Biti has a bill of R784 547 which the city "kindly" dropped to R747 000.

    The bill, for a service station in Kya Sand, used to be about R17 000 a month.

    "We were advised that City Power were billing estimates from January 2007, so the bill was for actual readings for the past five years, less payments. I have been trying since July, without success, to get clarification from the City of Joburg office in Jorissen Street." Biti said she requested actual readings in 2009, which were not done.

    She carried on paying, but many of these payments were not captured on the system.

    "Is it right for City Power to go back five years to correct their mistakes? I have requested to meet with someone in the back-office who can assist, but have failed. The staff at the Braamfontein Centre have advised they cannot assist any further, so I am desperate," she said.

  • Harold Thomas of Florida Hills has a bill of R364 000. The account was correct up until August 2011 and then in September he got an incorrect account for R348 554.

    "On October 13, I went to the civic centre in Florida and was... told to keep on paying the normal monthly payment which averages R3 000. The clerk said the account should be sorted in two months' time. In October I still received an incorrect account for R353 354 and in December the electricity was disconnected."

    Thomas managed to get it reconnected, but the account is still incorrect, and he fears being disconnected again.

    Requests for comment from the city's revenue department remain unanswered.

    Anna Cox
    Joburg Metro Watch
    The Star

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