Makana Municipality has no plan to extend the deadline for prepaid electricity users to hand their contact details and prepaid meter numbers to their Finance Department.
A notice from Makana was recently circulated on social media, reminding residents they needed to hand in those details by 3pm Friday 29 September. Failing this, their ability to buy prepaid units would be blocked and a reconnection fee of R428.08 would be charged to unblock the meter.
Several people commented angrily on the post on the Grahamstown Residents Association’s Facebook page, saying this was the first they’d heard of the requirement.
“Thank you for this. I think it sucks that Facebook is where I get informed,” said one comment.
Another resident said they’d received no prior communication and that they suspected this was “an attempt by the municipality to take citizens money by fining them for not complying”.
Others said the notice had been included at the bottom of rates accounts from the municipality for the past few months.
“The notice appeared on the property owner’s rates account which would not have been received by tenants,” one comment read. “…it is quite apparent that the municipality is conducting a prepaid meter audit again.”
Another read: “We picked up a note printed at the bottom of the account during June. We provided the following info: address, erf number and meter number. Received an e-mail next day confirming that our information was updated.”
Asked whether Makana planned to extend the deadline and communicate afresh with residents who weren’t owners and so don’t receive municipal accounts, Infrastructure and Technical Services Director Dali Mlenzana said an emphatic “no”.
“Ward councillors were given flyers to distribute, the deadline was publicised on Radio Grahamstown and posters were put all over areas that people are known to frequent,” Mlenzana said. “We’ve publicised it a lot – a person who doesn’t know is a person who doesn’t want to know.”
Mlenzana said the requirement affected only areas supplied via Makana and not Eskom-supplied parts of Grahamstown.
According to the notice, the information may be emailed firstname.lastname@example.org or handed in at the Municipal Finance Department in High Street.