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While the total proposed budget of R49.1 billion for the upcoming financial year includes much needed services like broadband infrastructure, installations of CCTV cameras, upgrading sports and recreation facilities, electrification and roadworks among others, ratepayers will have to dig deep in their pockets for municipal services if the budget is approved.
During the tabling of the budget for the 2018/19 financial year on Wednesday March 28, Mayor Patricia de Lille indicated that R39.8 billion of the R49.1 billion would be allocated for the operating budget and R9.2 billion for capital expenditure.
She proposed several increases including rates by 7.2%, electricity by 8.1%, 26.9% for sanitation and 5.7% for refuse.
In addition, the City wants ratepayers to pay a fixed charge for water, based on the water meter size as well as seven restriction level tariffs while the electricity department is proposing moving domestic customers to the home user tariff where properties are valued at above R1 million as well as introducing a fixed service charge of R150 a month for the properties.
She allocated R9.8 billion for bulk purchases of water and electricity from the Department of Water and Sanitation and Eskom and R5 billion for informal settlements, water and waste services – which is 54% of the capital budget and R1.7 billion for transport and urban development and R1.1 billion for energy.
The proposed tariff increases for the financial year is set annually to enable the City to deliver the level of services required by ratepayers.
Mayor De Lille said she was aware that there were many residents who struggled to make ends meet and to help those residents, the City provided free basic services such as electricity, refuse removal, water, sanitation and rates rebates to residents who qualified.
The basic social package rebates, which are based on property values, are as follows:
* Properties valued at R100 000 and below qualify for 100% rates and refuse removal rebates. These residents also receive 10 500 litres of free water and 7 350 litres of free sanitation.
* Where properties are valued above R100 000 and below R150 000, residents get a 100% rates rebate, 75% off refuse removal charges, 10 500 litres of free water and 7 350 litres of free sanitation.
* Properties valued between R150 000 and R400 000 all receive 10 500 litres of free water, 7 350 litres of free sanitation and between 50% and 25% off their refuse removal charges.
* There is also relief with electricity charges for consumers on the Lifeline tariff where consumption is on average 250 units a month, and these residents receive 60 units free a month.
* Where consumption is between 250 and 450 units, these households will receive 25 units free each month.
Apart from property value, the City uses household income as a factor to determine which residents qualify for assistance. Households with a gross monthly income of R4 000 or below can get a 100% rates rebate and receive the same benefits as if their properties were valued below R100 000.
A total of R910.5 million has been allocated to area south, which includes R29.6 million for electrification in various areas, R75 million for the Cape Flats wastewater treatment works refurbishment and R15 million for the Masiphumelele taxi rank. In its objection to the proposed increases, the Fish Hoek Valley Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (FHVRRA) said the proposed rates increase of 7.2% and refuse tariff increase of 5.7%, were significantly higher than the current annual inflation rate of around 4.4%.
The proposed electricity municipal tariff (R1.8289/kWh) increase is 8.14%, on top of Eskom’s upcoming 30% increase. The City will be moving domestic customers (R1.6115 / kWh) to the home user tarrif, where property value is above R1 million and a fixed monthly service charge of R150 is to be introduced.
This is down from the proposed R219 amount for 2017/18 and electricity rates will be adjusted to compensate. The FHVRRA added that instead of the water usage and linked sanitation service fee being under-recovered in the normal 2% to 7% range, water is under-recovered by 27% as water usage is down by 20%.
The association indicated that the linked sanitation service fee was only 14% under-recovered yet, both charges would increase by 26.96% to 30.45% (depending upon source). This is on top of the recent tariff increase.
The FHVRRA urges ratepayers to attend the public participation process on Monday April 16, at 6pm, at the Fish Hoek Civic Centre.
The closing dates for comments on the proposed budget, is Friday May 4, at 4.30pm.
* Activist group Stop City of Cape Town (StopCoCT) is leading a protest march in the city centre tomorrow, Friday April 13, from Daling Street, meeting at 10am.
Published at https://www.falsebayecho.co.za/news/city-budget-increases-in-spotlight-14392621
Mitchell’s Plain community organisations say residents cannot afford the proposed municipal tariff increases, tabled in the City of Cape Town’s proposed budget for 2018/19.
Mayor Patricia de Lille proposed, during a full sitting of council on Wednesday March 28, that residents fork out significantly more for municipal services. If the proposed budget for the upcoming financial year is approved, there will be a 26.9% water tariff increase, a 7.2% rates hike, electricity costs will increase by 8.1%, sanitation by 26.9% and refuse removal by 5.7%.
In addition to the increases, the City wants ratepayers to pay a fixed charge for water based on their water meter size as well as Level 7 restriction tariffs.
William Simmers, fondly known as Uncle Willie from the Mitchell’s Plain Community Advice and Development Project (MPCADP), said residents needed to pay for food, transport, school fees and uniforms.
“We strongly object to the proposed council tariff increases,” he said.
“We will stand by the community of Mitchell’s Plain to prevent these increases.”
Norman Jantjes, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA), encouraged residents to support and join campaigns opposing the tariff increases which he said were “unjustified” and would put residents further below the breadline.
Mr Jantjes said they would be supporting the Save Cape Town initiative, which would be marching on Friday April 13 at 10am, from 10 Darling Street in the Cape Town CBD.
The Water Crisis Coalition, an umbrella body of several civic bodies, will be opposing the tariff increases with a petition.
Mr Jantjes said Mitchell’s Plain already had quite a few issues, including a high unemployment rate, several people living off social grants and many people, who worked, but lived below the breadline.
Mr Jantjes said queues at loan companies were testament to people being unable to cover basic costs. “Every month they are back in that queue, increasing their debt,” he said, adding that while annual increases were expected, these were way above inflation.
He said Mitchell’s Plain residents were being punished because rich people could afford alternate water and electricity saving devices, like boreholes and tanks.
“In addition to Level 6B water restrictions, now residents will have to fork out more money to cover their water and sanitation bill. We are saying that these increases are not justified and is totally unaffordable for the average Mitchell’s Plain resident,” he said.
Mr Jantjes said the City’s evaluation system is flawed.
He cited the example of someone, who bought a house in Mitchell’s Plain a few years ago at about R75 000, but now it was valued at R500 000.
“The rates increases – these charges are linked to the value of the property and not to the family’s income. This then further increases the burden on ratepayers,” he said.
He said this was why indigent grant applicants were often unsuccessful, because the evaluation of their application was based on the value of their houses.
Mr Jantjes encouraged residents to join local civic organisations to apply pressure on local councillors and the municipality.
He invited residents to attend a Western Cape legislature outreach programme at the Nelson Mandela family and youth community centre at 2pm today, Wednesday April 11.
The proposed budget for the upcoming financial year is R49.1 billion, with R39.8 billion on the operating budget and R9.2 billion for capital expenditure. The mayor has earmarked R9.8 billion for water and electricity bulk purchases from the Department of Water and Sanitation and Eskom, while R5 billion has been allocated to informal settlements, water and waste services, which is 54.9% of the capital budget, R1.7 billion for transport and urban development and R1.1 billion for energy.
Domestic customers will be moved to a home user tariff and those with a property valued at more than R1 million will have to fork out a R150 service charge.
“In terms of the proposed tariff increases for the upcoming financial year, the tariffs are set annually to ensure that the City can deliver the level of services required by our residents,” Ms De Lille said in a statement.
The mayor encouraged residents to take part in the public comment process, which closes on Friday May 4.
Cape Town - The City’s proposal to increase water and sanitation tariffs by 26.9% has been met with an avalanche of outrage set to culminate in a protest march where thousands of residents are expected.
Several groups have voiced their outrage at the City’s proposed increase in municipal charges. Punitive charges for water and sanitation have also increased and if the proposed R49billion budget is to be approved electricity consumers will pay a flat R150 rate before using any electricity.
Sandra Dickson, founder of the STOP COCT group, said the increases have not been justified and puts the pressure on water-saving residents. Dickson and other activists have also established a website portal that receives and collates comments on the proposed budget. So far, more 17000 have commented on the budget.
“A total of 99% of the comments are really bad. There is a clear frustration from all residents across the city. It is really unjustified for people to pay so much money for the failure of the government; it is immoral,” Dickson said.“
There are people who have spent millions of rand on water-saving measures. There are also people sitting with massive rates accounts that they cannot pay. It is so wrong; we cannot allow the City to abuse the ratepayers like this. By law, the City has to consider the comments we hand over to them. People are fed up with the City and residents will have to stand together,” she said.
Anne Smith, a member of the group, said a protest march for Friday has been approved. “We have applied for 3000 people, but only on the day of the protest will we know what the outcomes are. We are having the protest on Friday 13th and we hope there is very little luck for the City and their plans,” she said.
Charmen Gribi, a community activist from Elsies River, said the community supports a protest against the increase in municipal services tariffs.
“The residents of Cape Town were never consulted over this budget. If there was consultation it was very poorly done. They should have gone to residents first and ask for comments on the impact of tariff increases. We are already paying extra VAT, but we cannot pay more for the most essential services. That is just inhumane. There are people who simply cannot afford it and the City appears to simply not care,” Gribi said.
Philipp Bam, secretary of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, has said they will be opposing the tariff increases using the provided channels.
Yonela Diko, ANC provincial spokesperson, said: “The ANC will always support civic groups and issues that affect hard-working ratepayers. We are fully behind the groups as we believe the City’s proposed budget is anti-poor and borders on consumer abuse,” he said.
Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich said the City will face more resistance as the water issue is a massive crisis.
Mayoral committee member for finance Johan van der Merwe said the comment period for the 2018/19 draft budget is underway. “We welcome constructive and reasonable comments and peaceful legal gatherings.”
Residents have until May 4 to comment.
posted at https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/angry-cape-residents-to-march-against-proposed-tariffs-rise-14346808