James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
The DA is highly concerned at the possibility that race or geographic location is being used as a determining factor to establish whether or not defaulting rate payers will have their electricity supply disconnected by the Thaba Chweu municipality.
The embattled municipality has been facing numerous service delivery challenges, with billing and revenue collection for municipal services rendered being one of the greatest difficulties.
The DA has reliably learnt that consumers who live in traditional ANC strongholds such as Mashishing do not get their power supply disconnected when they default on payments, while the rest of Thaba Chweu’s power gets disconnected almost immediately after defaulting.
According to DA information, the service provider tasked with disconnecting defaulting consumers, has for the past 3 months not been handed a disconnection list for the Mashishing area, but has been receiving disconnection instructions for other residential areas.
It is alleged that the ANC has issued this instruction “because of the coming elections”. This leads to the possibility that the ANC has been manipulating the municipal billing system to suit its race-based agenda.
The DA will lodge a complaint against the Thaba Chweu municipality with the Human Rights Commission to investigate any possible human rights violations on the basis of racial discrimination in terms of the Bill of Rights. Section 9(3) clearly states that the state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on any grounds.
We will also request the HRC to request the municipality to produce all its disconnection lists for the months July 2013 through to January 2014, along with the disconnection list for February 2014 in order to determine which defaulting payers where exempt from disconnection, and to make a finding accordingly.
The municipality must produce evidence that it has adopted an indigent rates exemption policy and that this is being fairly implemented across all communities, regardless of race or geographic location.
With the DA growing fast in the Thaba Chweu municipality, the ANC is clearly feeling the pressure and will resort to any trick in an attempt to minimise its electoral loss.