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MMC Makhubo cushions City’s poor from tariff hikes


To cushion Johannesburg's indigent from the impact of the new tariff increases announced by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance Councillor Geoffrey Makhubo during his Budget Speech at the Sandton Convention Centre today, the City will roll out more benefits to the poor through the Siyasizana Expanded Social Package (ESP).
Already there are more than 124 000 residents who are benefiting from a number of ESP programmes.

From July 1 Johannesburg residents will pay more for water, electricity and refuse collection.

MMC Makhubo announced that water and sewerage tariffs would increase by 14% and electricity by 12.19%. Residents will pay 8% more for refuse removal.

Property rates go up by 6%.

In his Budget Speech, MMC Makhubo encouraged the city's unemployed youth and senior citizens to apply for the benefits.

"The City annually reviews its tariffs to ascertain whether they are still capable of producing the required revenue envelope, taking into account a number of internal and external factors. The City's tariff policy is cognisant of financial sustainability and social factors in ensuring that proposed tariffs are not only cost-reflective but also consider affordability of services within the context of the macro-economic environment.

"The stepped-tariff models and indigent policy of the City take into account the wide spectrums of households in Johannesburg, particularly households considered to be most vulnerable to economic hardship such as pensioners, child-headed households and those with low incomes," MMC Makhubo said.

He also encouraged consumers to reduce their monthly electricity and water consumption, adding that information on practical measures to lower consumption was available from City Power, Johannesburg Water and Eskom.

"The City will also continue to work with customers on the most effective ways to manage their consumption of water and electricity to reduce their household costs. The message we want to convey to our residents is: the less electricity consumers use, the less they pay."

On property rates, he said sectional title rebate would be reduced to 10% while pensioner rebate would be maintained, with the pensioner income reviewed in line with inflation.

MMC Makhubo said in the current economic environment it was important to cushion the poor.

The relief measures include:

The first R200 000 of the value of all residential property is exempted from rating;

Pensioners with gross monthly income of less than R7 850 get 100% rebates on property rates, while those with income higher than R7 850 but less than R13 457 qualify for a 50% rebate;

Pensioners older than 70 who own a house worth R2 million or less receive a 100% rebate on property rates;

Child-headed households with property value not exceeding R2-million receive 100% rebate on property rates;

All households would receive 6 kilolitres of free water every month;

A subsidised water tariff structure is in place for residents on prepaid meters;

A subsidised sanitation and sewerage tariff structure is applicable to those on prepaid meters; and

Residential properties valued at less than R200 000 receive free refuse removal service.