This is being suggested as a tool for residents in my neck of the woods to voice their objections to tariff increases.

I’ve seen the name before, but I don’t know anything about this site and the organisation behind it.

Do they have a way to put our comments before council? Does council have to pay them more attention than those who actually turn up at public meetings? Do they make any difference?

Anybody know anything?

PS: 82 objections so far, for all municipalities across the whole country. Does this speak of a small amount of trust of the site, a lack of engagement on the behalf of residents, or both?

Don’t know about the site itself. They do appear to be a legitimate tool for “class action” objections, but I don’t know if they have any teeth. Suspect not.

Personally I think South Africans have to accept that rates will increase. We cannot demand that Eskom fix load shedding, but then complain when the rates has to go up. Part of the reason (not all of it… corruption also plays a huge part) is that our rates are very low.

Any political party who promises you that they will both keep electricity prices down AND fix load shedding… are making promises they cannot keep.

happened on the name earlier in the year and my judgement veers to the negative side. I judge it as somewhere between one of the “we queue for you” type services and one of the many, many, many “someone else and his dog started a church/political party type gig”.

Their model seems to be one of telling people they will help them fight the monster under the bed but also make sure to continuously remind people that every single sound or shadow is a possible sign of the monster under the bed. At least their “survey” info and comments do seem to get submitted to for instance parliamentary groups but it appears that is where it stops.

Like most political orientated movements/organisations there is are currently actually two competing sides (for monthly contributions to help fund the monster under the bed?) and three different web urls - since the original grouping had a somewhat public falling out - maybe their position will be that the project forked…?. At least one involved member (of the current version) is openly aligned with a political party and was on their 2019 election list.

Apparently the DMRE actually used some of their (dear SA’s) survey “data” to justify not upping the 50MW license expemtion for generation in 2021. Survey data can be somewhat of a mine field - internet based survey data turns public participation into season 1 of “Idols SA”.

As with anything mostly social media based, I am very reluctant to take anything by and related to them (all the different versions) at face value.

I think middle class politics, like many things, seem to be a matter of convenience - if people could register their dissatisfaction with local council while at the point of sale at woolies, they would generally opt for that (at KFC…"would you like to add "vote no for tariff increases to your meal?.. or just click here, submit a comment and we will take care of it for you…).

We do not need more political groups - we need the ones that exist to do better. If current councillors/representatives are not willing/able to satisfactorily get the message across then local residents should probably communicate this to their various existing political parties in the form of “we will vote with our wallets/votes”. It obviously becomes a problem when your chosen party is actually in favour of the rates increase… It is easy to be opposed to the increase until someone asks for a viable way to run the council without such an increase (this is also where I believe people will diverge - “I will not pay/subsidise for squatters to receive services” vs “the increase is okay in principle but the amount is just too much”).

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Thanks for that. That went places I didn’t expect.

There’s a point made in that discussion, that folks will spew venom about [whatever] around the braai but ask them to take 5 minutes to post their objection on a web site that says it will take your concerns to government and then the flesh is weak.

Which is really how I got directed to that website. I am trying to start a discussion in my suburb about the electricity tariffs (there are other increases, but I can only die on one hill at a time, and electricity is what will hit me the hardest). At the moment the tariffs are proposed, not actual, and there are public feedback sessions (required by law) in the next couple of weeks. So I am trying to get people to think about these things and then go to one of these sessions. If we don’t tell the City what we think, we can’t get cross when they disregard what we didn’t say (but we will anyway).

Our local councillors have actually been calling for a greater public participation in the whole local governance process. They just aren’t very keen to tell us what meetings are happening when and how one may attend.

Clearly there ARE ways of getting council, or at least the people who apply the by-laws, to sit down and listen to your concerns and maybe to even go you the green light. This is evident to anybody who lives where I live because residents of several adjacent blocks managed to get permission to put up entry control systems on roads and even to physically close some roads outside of peak hours. A demonstration of what people can achieve when they get organised beyond complaining on Facebook.

But I am giving up hope. The councillors alternate between being clueless - they don’t tell us anything - and knowing everything according to what suits them. Where I live is opposition party land, and their main strategy just seems to get folks angry, even if it means that they have a not well defined relationship with the truth*. And their idea of public participation is “vote for us”.

I’ve said some disparaging things here. I must say that most of them seem to work very hard for the stipend they get from the City when the lights go out and the City (as usual) is not providing any information.

But I am regretting the whole business now. Too many of my residents are taking a belligerent but also uninformed response. It’s clear that most haven’t read the existing tariffs, let alone the proposals. They have no desire to actually engage with the municipality.

OK… they do in a way. We had such a session a while back, arranged by one of our councillors (the suburb is split across multiple wards) and although the City Power guys were trying to field questions, it quickly descended into “questions” that were actually just profanities and insults handed out by “engineers” (I didn’t know we had so many in the neighbourhood) or parents thereof. I get the anger and anguish from people whose businesses are taking a pounding, but what went on was not helpful at all. I was hugely impressed that the leader of the City Power delegation didn’t take his team out of there and punch somebody on the way out.

Anyway, I now have to go to that meeting on the 10th otherwise it will be noted that big gob himself wasn’t there.

So far my posting to has bought forth an appeal for funding and a chance to turn what I typed in a box asking me what I thought about the tariffs into a campaign. If I had known about the connection to the politician you refer to, I wouldn’t have bothered.

Anyway, I thank you all for your kind and helpful responses. Typically, I think, of this forum, the bigger, complete picture is being seen, and that’s something I sometimes lose sight of.

* example 1. In 2016 we got a DA mayor heading a minority local government with some sort of supply and confidence deal with - wait for it - the EFF. He was mayor, he got to appoint the executive committee (the people who can actually tell City Power what to do and who set the budgets). He made one of his priorities the improvement of a particular substation what was failing with boring regularity. He got in “experts” who drew up a list of work and a budget. He got his committee to approve the budget. The work was done. The substation kept on failing. Last year, the DA, now in opposition, published a report showing how all the wrong things at that station were fixed and the money should have spent on some other list of things. Conveniently forgetting to mention that they had oversight at the time, approved the budget and all went down there to get their selfies with their own grinning mayor and that it was them that had spent that money so badly.

Example 2. Now recently I posted that since 2016 we had nine mayors and nine city governments, none of the mayors representing a party that had a majority. Last year coalition #8 got overthrown when one of it’s member parties switched sides. Also there was a controversial increase in property rates. The majority party in the recently voted out coalition goes on the warpath about what crooks (coalition #9) are doing to our property rates. But nearly all of the re-valuing process (and the valuations are not done by council, but by professionals who are not in the employ of the City) happened on their watch. But they don’t tell you that bit. The last step, over which they did not preside, was the presenting of the updated valuations roll to the Mayor. So the valuations had already been set in stone before they were thrown out.

Now, I actually get that the City is in a financial mess and needs to get some money in. It hurts my pocket as much as anybody else’s, but something has to give here. I am pretty sure that the valuations would have been the same no matter who was mayor at the time. This impression was reinforced when OUTA got outraged and said they had a deal with a specialist property valuation firm who would give you a valuation (at a very reasonable cost) that you could use in your fight against the tyranny. I took the bait. The valuation arrived suspiciously quickly and was within 100K of the City’s.

None of the outrage, in the end, was about the actual quantum of the increase. It was about who could get blamed for it. Our leaders and would-be leaders are not telling us what we SHOULD hear, they are telling us what they guess (often correctly) we WANT to hear.

With regards to the earlier numbers proposed for CoJ, I would put myself in the above bracket. In a similar way I am generally in favour of taxing the more affluent a little more, it seems only fair, but there are also limits to this. A failure to ensure growth, to the extent that this recipe leans on the affluent harder every year, is ultimately also not sustainable.