Widespread Discontent Spurs Civic Action
This past Friday saw an avalanche of dissatisfaction pour into the streets of Durban as residents banded together, voicing their protest against the eThekwini municipality’s forecasted hikes in electricity, water, sanitation, and other utilities rates.
The Unite Durban Coalition: A United Front
These impassioned locals congregated under the emblem of the Unite Durban coalition, causing a deadlock in the city’s bustling downtown as they vocalized their discontentment. The rallying cry was against the proposed utility tariffs and frequent power blackouts, or load-shedding, affecting their daily lives.
A Call to Action
Durban-based community advocate, Desmond D’Sa, stood tall, challenging local leaders, including Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, to abandon the proposed hikes.
The city’s contentious proposal includes:
- An escalation in electricity rates by 21.91%
- A water tariff rise of 14.9%
- An 8% increase for refuse
- A sanitation rate boost of 11.9%
An Unsettled Public
“The proposed tariffs are deleterious to the public. With rampant inflation and an unemployment crisis, where are people expected to find the necessary funds?” queried D’Sa.
The Struggle of Small Businesses and Religious Communities
Merebank pastor Irvan Reddy, representing religious leaders, also joined in the discourse, raising queries about how communities are expected to cope amidst escalating costs of living.
He pointed out how load-shedding is devastating small-to-medium-sized businesses, which he described as “suffocating” due to rapidly increasing overhead costs.
“The latest interest rate hike just compounds the distress, while corruption continues unchecked and government appears to turn a blind eye,” Reddy noted.
Conveying their Demands
The protesters submitted a detailed memorandum outlining their concerns and demands to city representative Reggy Cele, capturing the city’s unrest and the urgent need for action.