Public Meeting re Changes to Roads at Jan Celliers School

Jan Celliers School is applying to make the following changes in and around Dorset Rd in Parkwood. They have called a public meeting to discuss the proposed changes below:
– Closure of Dorset Road between Lower Park Drive and Crescent Road, to become part of the school terrain (facilitate pick-up, drop-off and children crossing the road during school time) – a Pedestrian/cyclist walkway remains open;
– Changing Crescent Road to a one-way lane southbound from Cardiff Road to Dorset Road (to prevent overflow school traffic parking in Crescent Road);
– Traffic calming in Crescent Road;
– Traffic calming in Dorset Road;
– Additional formalised diagonal parking next to the school sport fields.

The meeting will take place on Thurs 24 Aug 2017 at 6pm in the Staff room of Jan Celliers School, Dorset Rd, Parkwood

Zoo Parkade Opens

 

The Zoo Parkade was officially opened at the beginning of August. It cost R45 million to construct and there is another R7.4 million allocated in this financial year finish it off. It costs R15 to park there and it is hoped that it will significantly reduce the illegal parking that used to occur along Upper Park Dr and in Forest Town. Read more here.

Zoo Lake Pool is Ready to Open on 1 September

MMC Nonny Sifumba visited the Zoo Lake Swimming Pool last week as part of her oversight visits to nearly all the pools in Joburg. The pool area was looking good – they had had a fresh coat of paint and the pool, although slightly green, was ready to go. Nonny also assured me and Pool Users Committee that there will be no problems with the delivery of pool chemicals.

The Users and I highlighted that the pool needed 2 things urgently: (1) the parking area at the front needs retarring; and (2) we need some of those revolving shiny pigeon scarers on the roof. If anyone out there would like to help get these items sorted, please let me know. Budgets are limited and it is unlikely the City would be able to supply these at the moment. Read more here.

Parkhurst Pool Needs Help

This pool will probably not open on 1 Sep. There is a problem with the 3 phase motor that drives the filtration system. The City has confirmed that we can get it fixed ourselves, if we can find an accredited technician and can fund it. I have a couple of irons in the fire with residents who may be able to help. But if you want to get involved, please let me know.

Parkhurst Rec Centre Renovation – 1st Phase Completion

The 1/2 Million Rand 1st phase upgrade is completed. The roof on the Rec Centre did not have to be replaced, so the extra money was spent on a new floor in the main Hall. I am hoping that more funding can be found in this financial year to continue with the much needed remaining renovations.

Jazz on the Lake on Sunday 3 Sep

The security consultants have been appointed and Ward Committee and User Group Members met with them yesterday. The usual road closures will be in place. I will keep you updated as I hear more info. Residents in the suburbs surrounding Zoo Lake will need to get resident’s passes – in Ward 117 – this is ONLY Parkwood and Saxonwold – please contact Tessa to get yours.

Local singer Zonke, American drummer Queen Cora, veteran SA singer Sibongile Khumalo and newcomer Amanda Black will all be rocking the stage on the day – read more here. Remember it is a free concert.

Feedback from Billing Open Day @ Marks Park on Saturday 12 Aug 

 

I am not sure exactly how many residents went to the billing day last weekend, but it was certainly in their 100s. There was a long queue already when I got there at 8’30am. Although it was only due to start at 9am, I was very happy to see that the officials had started earlier at 8am. I thought parking would have been a problem, but the top cricket field was used and there was always parking to be had.

Due to the complex nature of the billing system, and also due to the fatigue of the officials and the odd fibre hiccup in the afternoon, the resolution speed did slow down as the day wore on. But they stayed open long past the planned 4pm closing time – finally seeing off the last resident around 9pm.

All in all, it went well and it is hoped that the billing problem backlog has now been partly reduced. I have heard that there should be one billing day planned for every forthcoming month this year, in a different Region. More good news is that you can go there if you live in another region – so Region B residents who missed out last weekend, will get several more chances.

Illegal Terminations for Water and Electricity

 

There are still residents in the City who are getting their water and/or electricity cut off without first being issued with a pre-termination notice. This is illegal and should stop. If this happened to you, can you please email me with your details and your cut-off notice. I will then raise it with our COJ Special Investigations Unit (I am also talking to the Joburg Ombudsman Office) as there must be some rogue officials operating in the Billing Dept who are issuing these notices and ordering the cut off teams to go out.

I would suggest you supply me with: date, your name, cell, email, address, acct #, meter #, any ref # you have, service disconnected, and a short description of the problem.

Similarly, if you are asked for a bribe by these cut-off teams, PLEASE, let me know. I will need a pic of their vehicle (or at least their vehicle reg #) and details of the contractor (Name, company, etc), along with the cut off notice.

l get several more chances.

Smart and Pre-paid Meters

 

In my 21 July newsletter I alerted you to the fact that quite a few residents who had pre-paid meters were being charged the Business Tariff (starting at R1.97 per KWh) instead of the Residential Tariff (starting at R1.32 per KWH). In the newsletter I suggested you email someone at City Power to rectify it. He has been so inundated with emails that residents are now being requested to go into the Reuven City Power Head Office at 40 Heronmere Road, Booysens. You will need to take copies of a recent utility bill and your ID.

Another problem that cropped up was that residents living in apartments and housing developments that have centralised billing are also often being overcharged by their body corporate or rental agent. You should ONLY be paying the standard City Power Pre-Paid Rates for your power. These are:

0-500 KWH: R1.16 (R1.32 with VAT)
501-1000 KWH: R1.32 (R1.51 with VAT)
1001-2000 KWH: R1.42 (R1.62 with VAT)
2001-3000 KWH: R1.60 (R1.83 with VAT)
3000+ KWH: R1.74 (R1.98 with VAT)

Resellers of pre-paid electricity vouchers get a discounted “Resellers Tariff” of between 13-21% so that they can make some money to cover their costs.

If they are charging you the highest rate of R1.74 from your first KWH every month, they are effectively ripping you off. They pay R0.9931 per KWH for the 1st 500 KWH. Thus they will be making a whopping R0.75 per KWH profit off (75%) off of you instead of the 14% if they were charging you as per the City Power pre-paid tariff.

This is illegal. Please let me know – include your contacts, the agent’s/body corporate’s contacts and a copy of a bill or receipt showing the charges you are paying. If you are an agent or body corporate who needs advice, also please contact me.

How to Get a Pre-Paid Electricity Meter?

This was the other most asked question by residents after reading my 21 July email. It is a bit of schlepp and can take from 2 months to years to get one.

Step 1 – Check Your Meter

Go look at what meter you have. If it is already a smart meter, happy days. A smart meter make is usually a HXE or a Itron and it will have a digital display on it. Go to Step 3. If it is a Hefcom, you need to get it replaced as the City no longer supports them – go straight to Step 4 now.

If it is one of those old ones with dials that whizz around, then you will need to go to Step 2.

Step 3 – Getting a Pre-Paid Conversion

 

If your account is in good standing and you have a COJ smart meter, then you will need to go your Regional Revenue Centre (the one for Ward 117 is at Randburg, cnr Jan Smuts and Braam Fischer Aves) and apply for your conversion. It will cost R883.30 (incl VAT) for a single phase and R1368 (incl VAT) for a 3 phase. Note that these are the prices from the last Financial Year as they haven’t yet been increased for this year. Note that the conversions used to be a free a few years ago – if you applied then and have not received one, then I expect you will need to reapply.

I would advise you to take a certified copy of your ID and a copy of your account. If you are not the owner, you will need a letter authorising you act on their behalf and a certified copy of their ID. Take note of who you spoke to, the date and keep your receipts.

Step 2 – Getting a Smart Meter First

 

You will first need to apply to get a smart meter at a Regional Revenue Centre (In Ward 117, it is at Randburg on cnr Jan Smuts and Braam Fischer). It will cost about R2964 (incl VAT) for a single phase and R5016 (incl VAT) for a 3 phase. Note that these prices are from last financial year and may go up soon when the prices are adjusted.

I would advise you to take a certified copy of your ID and a copy of your account. If you are not the owner, you will need a letter authorising you act on their behalf and a certified copy of their ID. Take note of who you spoke to, the date and keep your receipts. Once the meter is installed (note down and take a pic of your old meter so you have a record of the last reading) you will then need to apply for a pre-paid conversion. See step 3.

Note that ONLY City Power or one of their approved contractors can install a Smart Meter in your main meter box. So don’t buy one that has fallen off the back of a lorry. Also note that if you want to install smart meters from your main box to secondary dwellings on your property, then you will use a private metering company to install them (and you must charge the correct rates as in the section above).

If it is one of those old ones with dials that whizz around, then you will need to go to Step 2.

Step 4 – If Nothing Happens for 2 Months

 

The above processes should now each take about 2 months (note that the meters are sometimes out of stock). If you have paid for a new smart meter or a conversion, and nothing has happened for two months (or longer if you have already applied, especially before the DA took over), then you can escalate it to me via email. I will need…

Name
Cell
Address
Acct #
Old Meter # (if getting a smart meter or if you have a now defunct Hefcom meter)
Smart Meter # (if getting a conversion)
Date you applied
Attach your receipt

I will pass it on to the metering team and speed up the process for you.

I would advise you to take a certified copy of your ID and a copy of your account. If you are not the owner, you will need a letter authorising you act on their behalf and a certified copy of their ID. Take note of who you spoke to, the date and keep your receipts.

Join The DA

If you want to join the DA, it costs R10 a year, or, I would recommend you take out a 5 year membership of R50. Please contact my Branch Membership Secretary – Teigue Payne on 082-892-2218 / teigue.payne@gmail.com. He will send the address where you can sign up and pay online. You can be from anywhere in Joburg as you will be allocated by Head Office to the Branch in your respective ward.

 

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