Johannesburg Citizens to Pay More for Services from 1 July 2015

Pretoria - The cost of living in the country's economic hub will rise substantially as of July 1.

Property rates will go up by 6%; refuse collection will surge by 8%; electricity will swell by 12.19%; and water and sewerage will rise by 14%.

This was announced by City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance‚ Geoffrey Makhubo, on Tuesday during the City’s 2015-2016 Budget.

Detailing the tariffs, Makhubo said the property rates tariff increases of 6% are within the South African Reserve Bank inflation target range.

For the refuse removal services, which will increase by 8% for domestic, businesses and commercial customers, Makhobo said they were also cost-reflective to ensure adequate funding of Pikitup’s operations.

While the proposed average tariff increase for electricity of 12.19% is in line with the NERSA/Eskom proposed tariff increase.

“The message we want to convey to our residents is: the less electricity consumers use, the less they pay,” Makhubo said, committing to the roll out of prepaid and smart meters that will not only protect the City’s revenue streams but will also mitigate the impact of load shedding through the load limiting capabilities of the smart meters.

The roll out has however been met by resistance from residents in some parts of Soweto, such as Orlando and Protea who have taken to the streets in protest in recent weeks.

Makhubo however maintained that: “We want to emphasise the fact that water and electricity tariffs are largely ‘pass-through costs’, outside the control of the City as they are determined by external agencies”.

He said the municipality was aware that that there are many residents of Johannesburg who are concerned about the tariffs for electricity and water.

“We want to assure them that we empathise with their situation and share their concerns.

“At the same time we want to create greater awareness of the fact that consumers themselves can take steps within their own households to reduce their monthly bills.”

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.

Information on practical measures to lower consumption is already widely available from City Power, Joburg Water and Eskom, he said.

There are, however, a number of special stipulations within the City’s property rates policy which pertain to specific categories of property owners.

These include:

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

· Pensioners with a 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 years 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 within the City receive 6kl free water every month.

· A subsidised water tariff structure is in place for those on prepaid meters.

· A subsidised sanitation and sewerage tariff structure is applicable for those on prepaid meters.

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