Pensioner stressed over unresolved Ugu account

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Joey says all she wants is to sit down with someone from Ugu to explain to them what has transpired in the last 12 months.
Joey Webber is frustrated about her inflated Ugu account.

Pensioner Joey Webber of Southport is having sleepless nights over her highly inflated Ugu water bill.

Out of desperation, a worried Joey contacted the Herald as she was getting no joy from the municipality regarding her account.

For the greater part of last year, Joey never received her water bill, so she paid a monthly average of R400.

To her shock, in January, she received a bill of R9 000.
Horrified, she called a plumber who discovered she had a burst pipe under a paved area in her yard.

“If I had received my accounts last year, I would have picked up that I had a leak,” said Joey.

Joey visited Ugu’s Customer Service Centre in Oslo Beach in January and submitted a statement under oath from the SAPS, copies of invoices from the plumber and photographs.

She said the understanding was that a credit would be passed on the account.

But, she then received an account of R11,014,92 which was due to be paid in April.

Since then, the pensioner has been trying to settle the issue, and has paid monthly amounts of R2000, R800, R500 and R1000, but the amount she allegedly owed stayed the same.
“I was told on one occasion when I visited the Oslo Beach offices to pay R800 for three months, until they sort it out. But since then I have paid more than I have to over the past 10 months, and they continue adding on interest,” she said.

The response from Ugu last month via email was ‘the account is reflecting a balance of R11 552.53, before we make arrangements half of this amount is required and the balance can be paid over 12 months.’

“I’m not trying to cause trouble! I’m prepared to pay half of this amount but not the full amount on principle – it’s just not right and fair.”

Joey said she has visited Ugu’s offices in Oslo Beach three times in the last year and has received no help.

“On one occasion she arrived at the offices and the power was off. She asked one of the Ugu employees at the front desk if she can make an appointment to come back and see someone, and the employee replied to her ‘no don’t do like that’.”

Joey says all she wants is to sit down with someone from Ugu to explain to them what has transpired in the last 12 months.
“You phone and no one answers.” she added.

Her son, Lyall who lives in Benoni is trying to help his stressed mother sort out the problem, and has also written to Ugu.

“If it wasn’t for my son I don’t know what I would do. He has now offered to hire a lawyer in a desperate attempt to find a way forward,” she said.

France Zama, spokesman of Ugu said the municipality has noted the enquiry and the matter has been forwarded to the billing system manager Busi Mtolo.

Customers with any billing enquiries must email Busisiwe.Mtolo@ugu.gov.za who is very willing to assist.

For other account queries, customers are advised to contact the Ugu toll-free line at 08000 92837 or email enquries@ugu.gov.za.

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