Johannesburg has announced that new tariff increases, which were reduced from the proposed percentages to cushion residents from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, were set to come into effect today.
The City said the enforcement of the new tariffs comes after the council recently approved the metro’s 2020/21 budget, tariffs and the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) following a delay in the approval of the budget.
It was recently reported that Gauteng Cooperative Governance Affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile’s office confirmed its plans to intervene when the City of Joburg twice failed to adopt a budget and approve other revenue-raising measures before the start of the 2020/21 financial year due to political squabbles.
However, Finance MMC Jolidee Matongo finally tabled the R68.1 billion budget before 257 councillors, some of who participated in the virtual sitting remotely, last week.
The City’s Kgamanyane Maphologela said on Tuesday they took a decision to reduce the initially proposed property rate from 4.9% to 4%, while the water tariff dropped from a proposed 8.6% to 6.6% and the proposed 8.10% increase for electricity was reduced to 6.23%.
He said City of Joburg also took a decision to withdraw the proposed fixed charges of R200 for residential pre-paid electricity and the R400 for commercial properties. The business rate ratio has been reduced from 1:2.6 to 1:2.5, he said.
“The recent budget approval delay resulted in the billing system being briefly suspended for rebooting to launch a new financial year with the updated tariffs.
“The delayed system transition into a new financial year, which falls within the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, saw billing only commence two working days after the Johannesburg Council’s approvals.
“Therefore, ratepayers are advised that billing for the month of July will subsequently be delayed and no penalties will be imposed on ratepayers in this regard.
“The pre-termination of service notices that were issued since the beginning of the lockdown will also not be executed in line with the Covid-19 regulations not to cut off municipal services during the period.
Maphologela also said there were currently no municipal agents assigned to residents’ properties to disconnect the water or electricity supply.
He said anyone who arrives at their property claiming to be either Johannesburg Water or City Power officials/agents and assigned to cut off services during the lockdown, then request a bribe to immediately reconnect them, should be immediately reported to the police.
“The City further appeals to ratepayers who may be struggling to meet their financial obligations that may include payment of municipal accounts to contact the municipality’s Credit Control Department for assistance with suitable relief measures to ensure their accounts remain up to date,” he said.