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Wednesday Sep 15, 2021

Debt relief plan for Joburg ratepayers

The City of Joburg has extended the debt rehabilitation programme till the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the city announced that property owners whose municipal accounts were in arrears had until July 31 to apply for the programme that offers amnesty to those afflicted by the Covid-19 lockdown.

The relief measures were designed to ease the financial burden on ratepayers amid the Covid-19 pandemic and would cost the city about R11.8billion.

Then finance MMC Jolidee Matongo, who is now the mayor, said at that time that the threshold of property value that qualified for debt relief had increased from R600000 to R1.5 million.

This followed calls from residents for the city to review the terms and conditions of the initial relief programme, first launched in 2019.

The city said more than 13 800 households had applied for the relief by the end of July, and that it had approved just more than 13 100 applications..

"The offer is well received by our customers who … have realised it is an aid to ease their financial burden," the city said, adding that it hoped to benefit from improved revenue collection and liquidity.

For the good of small businesses, places of worship and non-profit organisations, Matongo said the new programme would see qualifying ratepayers receive immediate relief through a 50% debt write-off, with a further write-off on the outstanding debt over three years, for those who complied with conditions of the relief programme.

To qualify, he said, ratepayers would have to keep their municipal accounts up to date, by paying on time and paying the agreed amounts. Ratepayers also needed to allow regular inspections of metered services and for the installation of smart meters where required.

Matongo said the primary condition of the relief programme was for property owners who received assistance to remain compliant throughout the agreed period.

The Star Early Edition10 Sep 2021NHLANHLA MBATHA


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