The City of Johannesburg’s Council has requested for amendments to be made to the budget for the 2018/19 financial year, citing that the proposed rate increases will have a negative impact on the lives of the residents of Johannesburg – which the multi-party coalition government has agreed to.
“The Diphetogo, at its core, means real transformation change, and prioritises investment in the service delivery backlogs that plague our communities. Using our budget, we will work harder to improve access to quality water, electricity, sanitation and refuse services in our city. This is indeed the change we are bringing to our communities,” Mashaba said.
According to reports, The EFF was unhappy with water and electricity increases, saying the DA-led administration should consider the poor when making such increases.
“Consideration must be taken into account because the tariffs, as proposed by the executive, are too high and they must be reduced,” EFF chief whip Musa Novela said. Finance MMC, Cllr Funzela Ngobeni acknowledged some of the criticism from the opposition, in particular the city’s lack of adequately consulting members of the public on the proposed tariff hikes. He said they will do so in the future.
Council has thus sought to ammend the budgeted electricity tariff to 7.17%, down from the poposed 7.37%. The proposed average tariff increase on water, sewerage and sanitation is to be reduced by 1% down to 13.2%.
“These amendments were provided to Council at the last minute and we hope that their acceptance will bring Council closer to finalising the budget and allowing government to focus on bringing much needed service delivery to residents,” said City of Johannesburg Mayor, Cllr herman Mashaba.
Steps to provide relief to residents, particularly those within poorest communities in Johannesburg have been taken, says the Mayor. “Within the proposed budgets, we have increased the residential rates rebate from R200 000 to R350 000. This will have the effect of reducing the impact of 5 years’ worth of property value increases and ensured that 191 000 households, on the lowest end of the property market, will be rates exempt,” explained Mashaba.
In addition, Councillor Mashaba says that in efforts to provide relief to the lower threshhold residents, the City will continue to offer free basic water to registered indigent households.
In a positive move that should bring much relief to some residents the mayor said, “The highest allocation of free basic water will be provided to households earning no formal income, receiving up to 15kilo litres of water per month and 150 kilowatt hours of electricity via the City’s Extended Social Package programme. Meanwhile, lower levels of allocations will range between 10 kilolitres of free water per month and 12 kilolitres of water provided without charge to the most vulnerable in our City “
Not excluded from the beneficiaries are pensioner home owners who will receive a 100% property rebate if their household income is lower than R9 245, and their property value is not more than R2.5 million. Pensioners who are 70 years and older will receive a 100% rebate irrespective of income, with a property value of not more than R2.5 million.
“The City will also provide a 100% rebate to residents who are on the Expanded Social Package programme, who are not pensioners and whose property value does not exceed R500 000. Once approved, the budget will be used to drive fundamental change, Diphetogo, to our communities,” concluded Cllr Mashaba.
The special Council sitting will take place on the 11th of June 2018.