Single tariff structure on the cards for Tshwane

Pretoria - Tshwane Executive Mayor, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, has tabled a R66.3 billion budget for the next three years incorporating the proposed single tariff structure for municipal services.

The city is currently faced with the challenge of three different tariff structures for property rates, electricity, refuse removal, water and sanitation.

"The budget we table today incorporates the proposed unified property rates. Furthermore, we regard a single tariff structure as essential. It is our considered view that we are creating one city, and one system. If we fail to do that, it may lead to a fractured system and the same experience that we had in 2000 when the current city was founded," he said.

Ramokgopa tabled his budget and the Medium-Term Revenue and Expenditure Framework (MTREF) for the 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 financial years on Thursday.

After the 18 May local government elections, the city will grow from having 76 wards to having 105 wards when the Metsweding District will be incorporated. The two local municipalities in the Metsweding District are Kungwini and Nokeng tsa Taemane.

The mayor also announced the price increases for municipal services. The Eskom price bulk electricity supplied to municipalities will increase by 26.7 percent in July later this year, while a guideline tariff increase of 20.38 percent was indicated by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).

However, the city has decided on an increase of 19.8 percent for residential households. Ramokgopa is of the view that they have created a cushion for their residents by bringing down the tariff by 0.58 percent.

With regard to water tariffs, the city accordingly decided to increase the water tariffs by 9 percent which is 3.9 percent less than the Rand Water tariff increase of 12.9 percent for bulk purchase. "Residents will save. Sanitation costs will increase by 8 percent to maintain the high standards of our water quality," he said.

The city has been accredited with the Blue Drop and Green Drop national status for good quality potable water and waste water respectively.

Ramokgopa said property rates will increase by 8 percent in terms of the legislation. He said: "It should be noted that households in both Kungwini and Nokeng tsa Taemane will as from 1 July enjoy a rebate of R50 000.

"It entails R15 000 impermissible value plus a further R35 000 granted by the current City of Tshwane."

Furthermore, there will be a 35 percent rebate on property tax, currently granted by the city and Nokeng tsa Taemane, with 30 percent currently granted by Kungwini. However, it is the city's view that owners of lower-value properties will benefit from the new tariff regime, while registers indigents will not be liable for property rate charges.

With regards to waste removal, the service will increase by 17 percent and the city will for the medium-term render the services at a deficit of R341 million for the 2011/12 financial year, R343.1 million, for the 2012/13 financial year and R300.9 million for the 2013/14 financial year.

"The truth must be told that the rich will unfortunately continue to subsidise the poor as far as this issue of concerned. We have calculated the averages based on the property value and category as outlined in Municipal Property Rates Act," he said.

The poor sections of communities in previously disadvantaged areas of Nokeng tsa Taemane and Kungwini will receive the same benefits as those in the current City of Tshwane.

The average increase in total municipal account in Kungwini will be 1.2 percent, in Nokeng tsa Taemane the average increase will be 17.8 percent, while the current City of Tshwane will be 13.08 percent.

By Nthambeleni Gabara
- BuaNews