Life is complicated

The work of a Councillor can be a challenge.

Sometime ago, I responded to a woman who was unable to pay her municipal accounts. The house was in an expensive suburb on two levels with a pool, a garden and worth about R3 million or more.

Her story was that she was recently divorced, and took the house in settlement. She could not afford the municipal expense as she had never worked. Her alimony was insufficient and she did not want to sell the house as she did not want to disrupt the comfort to which her family was accustomed.

Since spending time in parts of the Cape Flats that is really poor, the notion of helping a “property” millionaire to possibly access money intended for the “indigent” made me uncomfortable.

After consulted a religious expert on the conditions of giving and seeking charity. He clarified that it is better to give than to receive charity and that folk must logically live within their income. This view advised, the woman was not automatically entitled to charity as the house can be sold for R3 million. She could buy elsewhere for R1 million and could receive a 10% Sharia investment return from any bank. As her divorce and comfort of her family was not the ratepayer’s liability, I gave her the advice.

Equally, at the High School where I am Deputy Chairman of the Governing Body, I often expound why the school must ensure that 90% of parents pay and 10% of the learners can receive charity.

Since the school is the best but costly, some want their kids to attend but do not want or cannot pay.

This is common in South Africa where a culture of non-payment and over-all selfishness is increasing.

So, the future is a challenge as those who can pay for services, do not want to and those who cannot pay, refuse to adapt to their financial milieu. Some want to share their problems with others via non-payment. Sadly, schools that were “places of excellence” are failing as they cannot pay extra staff.

Likewise, instead of being honest many politicians, for the sake of votes, will subsidize those who refuse to accept liability and use other paying taxpayers as an unlimited ATM bank. That is why folk in Soweto and so many other municipalities do not pay for electricity or other services.

We are dragged into the financial abyss by a some who “just want their way” while others must pay.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress