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Tariff Commission drags BCC to court

by Staff Reporter
17 May 2013 at 02:44hrs | Views
THE Competition and Tariff Commission (CTC) has set 14 June as the date for a public hearing on alleged restrictive practices by the Bulawayo City Council following complaints by residents over inflated water bills.

Although the city council has denounced the investigations into its operations, the CTC said in a notice yesterday that the submissions from different stakeholders in the city warrants a public hearing on the council's billing system.

The CTC launched investigations into the council's tariff regime in December last year following an outcry by some residents who felt council was ripping them off while failing to render adequate service delivery.

"The Competition and Tariff Commission, after embarking on an investigation in terms of Section 28(1) of the Competition Act (Chapter 14:28), invited interested persons or parties to submit written representations to the Commission in regard to alleged restrictive practices," read the statement.

"The responses to the notice came from a variety of stakeholders and the commission saw it fit to hold public hearings in order to ensure that every person whose interests are likely to be affected by the outcome of these investigations is given an opportunity to make representations in the matter."

The tariff watchdog has set 14 June as the date for the public hearing at a local hotel where interested parties would make their representations and map the way forward.

Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) chairman Mr Winos Dube said the public hearing was justified given widespread concerns by residents over flawed water bills.

"As residents we are not happy with the council's billing system. People are being over billed and we always see residents flooding the council's offices to complain over inflated bills.

"This shows that there is no effective meter reading and council bills are based on estimated readings. That is a thorny issue to residents and has to be seriously looked into," said Mr Dube.

Contacted for comment, Deputy Mayor Councillor Amen Mpofu said the council was not scared of the investigation as it believed its hands were clean.

Source - Chronicle