While delivering the eThekwini Municipality’s final budget speech for the 2019/20 financial year, mayor Zandile Gumede said special provisions have been made to assist poor and vulnerable residents.
The city’s R50.6billion consolidated budget was presented at a sitting of a full council on Wednesday at City Hall, reports Highway Mail.
She said the city would support residents in need with basic services and also by providing them with rates relief in the form of rebates or discounts.
She confirmed that the Durban Municipality’s social package of R3.9 billion for 2019/20 was partially funded by the municipality’s equitable share allocation of R3.2 billion from national government.
“This is an affirmation of the municipality’s commitment to push back the frontiers of poverty by providing support to residents who cannot afford to pay, because of adverse social and economic realities, said Gumede.
During her budget speech, the mayor said municipal employees also needed to get back to basics to ensure that they heeded the call from communities who participated in the two-month long draft budget consultation process.
“They came out in their numbers during our budget hearings. We must not disappoint them by asking them to contribute and later ignore their requests.
“Our people are not asking for much, they want simple things like speed humps, fixing of potholes, streetlights, passages and cleaning of their areas. If we want our people to trust us on bigger things, let us deliver on these small things. We want less workshops and talk shops but actual delivery,” she said.
Gumede also welcomed the announcement made by newly appointed Premier Sihle Zikalala on the continuation of the provision of houses and ensuring a sustainable livelihood to all.
Over the next few years, the province of KwaZulu-Natal has promised to deliver no less than 125,000 units.
The social package is outlined as follows:
Residential properties valued up to R230,000 will be exempt from paying rates. All other properties valued above R230,000, the first R120,000 no rates charged.
Pensioners, child-headed households, disability grantees and the medically boarded are exempt from paying rates, with the maximum rebate not exceeding R4,373.
No rates levied on the first R30,000 value of vacant land and Outside the Urban Development Line.
The first 6kl of water is free to households with property values under R250,000.
The first 50kwh of electricity is free to residents using less than 150kwh per month in Eskom-reticulated areas.
The first 65kwh of electricity is free to residents using less than 150kwh per month in eThekwini-reticulated areas.
Residential property valued up to R250,000 exempt from domestic refuse removal tariff. In addition, a free basic refuse removal service is also available to indigent consumer units living in rural, informal settlements, and non-kerbside residents.
The first 6kl of effluent disposal is exempt for all properties with values under R250,000. In addition, a free basic service is also available to indigent consumer units with VIPs, urine-diversion toilets and in informal settlements serviced by means of a toilet/ablution block within 200m.