'Water hike would hurt the poor'

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Poor South Africans will be the hardest hit if Rand Water's proposed 16percent tariff increase is approved.

Patrick Sindane, an organiser for the Coalition Against Water Privatisation, said the views of poor communities should be heard because "they are the ones who will be most affected."

Rand Water have warned consumers of a "double digit" increase for clean water.

Rand Water chief executive Percy Sechemane said the anticipated new tariff structures were necessary to help boost the country's ailing water infrastructure.

"We will have to increase our rates because input costs are rising . you have energy, chemicals and labour costs that are increasing," Sechemane said.

Rand Water's annual report indicated an increase in revenue from R4,1billion last year to R4,3billion this year.

Sindane said: "With all the financial problems people are facing they will now have one more thing to worry about.

"It would be wrong and unfair if Rand Water failed to hear what the people have to say."

He said the grants allocated by Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel, pictured, would not help the situation in any way.

"Manuel announced that pensioners would be getting R20 more than before but that's nothing," Sindane said.

"If the water price goes up people will struggle more. We will never see the end of poverty in the country."