GEORGE POLITICAL NEWS - On the eve of four by-elections which took place yesterday, 11 November, George Municipality reacted in a statement on what it called "false allegations relating to water meters" by the PBI party, distributed last week on flyers and broadcast Monday on a community radio station.
On the flyer the PBI accuses the DA of implementing a system through which all households need to buy their water with coupons.
"According to the system the public is forced to install pay meters," reads the wording on the flyer. "In practice this means that if a resident doesn't have money to buy water, no water will be made available for that household."
The PBI says that it is the same system which recently sparked protest actions in Knysna. It reads further: "The PBI encourages residents to pay for basic services, but rejects a system which would harm especially women and children and regulate the use of water."
Comment from DA Regional Chair Tertuis Simmers and DA Constituency Head Geordin Hill-Lewis are as follows:
"As the DA, we take note of the misleading and false information that the PBI distributed to George voters via a pamphlet, but also indirectly to the broad listening corps of EDENfm. We can confirm that all the municipalities to which Mr Gericke refers on his pamphlet, including the City of Cape Town, do not roll out prepaid water meters to the wider communities, but that they are installed at private individuals' homes, which are largely multi-purpose properties such as apartments or complexes.
"There is also a difference between a prepaid water meter and a water management device. Water management devices are implemented in many social housing projects, especially in communities that have registered, qualified compassionate households.
"With one of our projects in Kuils River in Cape Town, the water goes on a drip system when a family has used their day's quota. It teaches people to be water wise. The water goes on again at midnight. Water is also a scarce natural resource, so it helps our communities to manage it, as well as preventing people from getting a huge water bill when, for example, they have an underground water leak."
George Municipality said it wished to categorically state that these allegations are not factually correct and can be regarded as fake news.
"George Civil Engineering Services confirmed today that no such project to install prepaid water meters and/or water management devices is under consideration for George and surrounds. The municipality strongly rejects the issuing of such Fake News which attempts to bring the George Municipality into disrepute and creates unnecessary distress amongst the citizens of George," reads the statement.
Asked for response on the matter, PBI leader Virgill Gericke said the party fails to understand why the George Municipality is drawn into a statement released by the PBI. "In our statement we have made no mention of the municipality whatsoever. The DA must take responsibility for actions taken by their councils in municipalities where they govern. If political decisions are made by councils, the officials simply execute those decisions."
Gericke said the DA has implemented prepaid water meters in certain areas where they govern.
"These meters are designed to regulate the use of water, once the free units have been consumed. Thereafter people must buy water by buying tokens. There is proof and confirmation in Knysna and Hanover Park, as well as many other places. The DA is in denial of their own making.
This is to save face in the by-elections in George. People are struggling to cope, therefore the PBI expresses disgust in the system. People must pay for services, but these practices cannot be allowed in areas where poor and needy people are choking to survive."
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