20 May 2011
Amid all kinds of assurances from the City of Joburg that its billing mess will soon be sorted out, a frustrated resident in Mayfair is fuming as he keeps receiving monthly electricity bills of about R33 000 for a building that burnt down months ago.
The electricity cables were removed from the building by City Power after it burnt down in October last year according to Moosa Patel, a member of the family trust that owns the building in Crown. He says that charges of arson are still being investigated after the building was completely gutted by the fire.
Patel says that in December, the council charged a disconnection fee for the building – after all the cables had been disconnected and removed – and this reflected on the December statement. However, the bills just keep rolling in and Patel says that the account now stands at more than R200k.
He says that obviously no electricity could have been used at the building but his protestations to the council have been met with blank stares. He says the trust submitted certified proof to the city that the building had been gutted and a letter from the fire department confirmed this as well.
Patel says the family even submitted the case number from the South African Police Service for the incident but, despite this, the council has continued to bill them.
At the time of the fire the building was occupied by three different tenants all running businesses from the building.
Patel says that the building is now being rebuilt.
He says that the family trust has had similar experiences with other buildings that the own insisting that the Johannesburg Council is “oppressive, dishonest and fraudulent” when it comes to billing for electricity and then, when complaints are lodged, adopting an obstructive attitude to getting the matter sorted out.