The City of Johannesburg is in the process of reviewing its rates rebates and municipal service charges as part of the expanded social package (ESP) programme to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on ratepayers.
Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Finance Councillor Jolidee Matongo said the City appreciates the financial difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown for both the municipality and residents.
“The City’s leadership is hard at work reviewing the ESP programme’s current terms and conditions, which require policy adjustments - with the aim of broadening the net for distressed Johannesburg ratepayers,” he said.
Cllr Matongo, who was giving an update on the municipality’s planned contingency plans currently being explored, added that the City’s existing relief programme (ESP) already offers rebates on all municipal account services that include property rates, water, electricity and refuse removal.
“However, since the Covid-19 pandemic forced a nationwide lockdown, the City and its residents have begun feeling the pinch. This is evident in the revenue collection figures for April, which have dropped - a clear indication that there are residents whose income has been affected,” Cllr Matongo said.
The City raises most of its revenue for service delivery through property rates charges.
“The knock-on effect of the decline in revenue means that the City has to align budgeted programmes accordingly. This is to ensure that a more prudent approach to fiscal management of the current budget is adhered to, while finding innovative ways to continue meeting our service delivery and developmental agenda,” Cllr Matongo said.
He further indicated that an announcement on Johannesburg’s comprehensive contingency plan will be made once the City’s Covid-19 Adjustment Budget is concluded and approved later in May.
“In the meantime, we appeal to residents who can still afford to pay their municipal accounts to continue doing so to ensure that the delivery of basic services continues during this difficult time. It is through working together that we can overcome the challenges we are all facing at this stage,” MMC Matongo said.
He assured residents that the City will not cut services during the lockdown as per guidelines from the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.