SA consumers, many of whom have just been hit by Eskom’s 15% price hikes, face steep increases in other utility charges when municipalities introduce new midyear tariff structures on July 1.

More worrying, as Michelle Dickens, CEO of credit bureau TPN, points out, is that exorbitant electricity, water, sanitation, refuse removal and rates costs aren’t being accompanied by improved service. In fact, the opposite is true, with ratepayers effectively footing the bill to prop up SA’s rising tally of mismanaged local councils. Figures from the auditor-general show that 87 of SA’s 278 municipalities are dysfunctional. Many more are in serious distress...

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