The Action Group STOP COCT is fighting the proposed Water Charge which is currently open for Public Participation. STOP COCT created a portal to make the public aware that they have a right to have their say and stop this water charge. To date, dearcapetown.co.za received over 37 500 emails of Cape Town residents who are up in arms about this new levy.
The public participation window ends on Friday, 12 January 2018. The City’s Administrator appointed in accordance with the PAJA Act will then have until 29 January 2018 to process the emails received from residents and prepare a report on his findings. On 29 January a meeting is scheduled for the council to vote on the implementation this new tax. On 5 December 2017, the same council voted on the proposal of the Water Tax without ever consulting any of their constituents in the matter. The STOP COCT is questioning to what extent the City of Cape Town is trampling on their rights to participative governance.
On Sunday evening dearcapetown.co.za had received 37 500 comments/emails from residents which were routed individually to the City’s email address. Around six o’clock STOP COCT became aware that the website had problems. Messages and emails were also received from disappointed people who could no longer enter their comments on the website. The STOP COCT service provider, Hetzner, investigated and found the 45 000 hits were sent to dearcapetown.co.za from 3 IP addresses in rapid succession causing the website to fail.
This was disastrous for the STOP COCT campaign as a period of 12 hours of receiving comments were lost. The Water Tax is a sensitive issue and the City and those standing to gain from it will lose R3.5 billion if the water tax is not implemented. In turn, residents will be burdened with a Water Tax for years. This Tax is not based on the consumption of water, but rather on the value of a property one lives in.
This tax will affect every resident in the City for years to come.
Sandra Dickson lives in Cape Town. She is an educationalist, a mathetics graduate and a political activist.