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Wednesday May 27, 2015

Joburg municipal bills to increase by 10.23%

Joburg residents face an increase in their municipal bills of 10.23 percent - probably more if they consume more water and electricity.

This is more than double the inflation rate which, last month, stood at 4.5 percent.

Announcing a R52.6 billion 2015/16 budget this morning, City of Joburg member of the mayoral committee responsible for finance, Geoffrey Makhubo, warned consumers to take steps to reduce their bills.

He said information on practical measures to lower consumption was available from City Power, Joburg Water and Eskom, and the city would continue to communicate with households and businesses on the most effective ways of managing their consumption to reduce household costs.

Electricity goes up by an average of 12.19 percent and water by 14 percent, but this could go up to 17 percent on the highest level of the stepped tariffs if more is used.

The city, he said, empathised with residents over the increases.

"Water and electricity tariffs are largely 'pass through' costs, outside the control of the city and determined by external agencies. These increases, together with the expected rise in petrol price and food inflation, will further erode households' disposable incomes and put pressure on the ability of customers to pay for services, but the message is: The less you use, the less you pay," he said.

Makhubo said the setting of the water, sewage and sanitation tariff was also determined by the need to ensure the conservation of this scarce natural resource.

It also represents cost-reflective tariffs, including the cost of maintenance and renewal of purification plants, water networks and the costs associated with reticulation expansion.

Waste removal goes up by 8 percent and property rates by 6 percent.

The theme of the budget speech carried forward mayor Parks Tau's state of the city address which is "Tomorrow will be better than today."

"We have reached an important stage in the development of postapartheid Joburg where concerted efforts of planning, stakeholder mobilisation and resourcing have culminated in an implementation phase," Makhubo said.

"The community-based planning approach we introduced in 2013 in Region E (Orange Grove/Alexandra) has not been rolled out to all regions, but it has given us an opportunity to reach many communities and appreciate the diverse needs of all our communities.

"Yet we share the common collective goals of a liveable, sustainable and resilient city," he said.

This budget is grounded in the reality of a city growing more confident in its ability to meet the needs of its communities while rolling back the economic and social legacy of its apartheid past, he said.

The key priorities for the next financial year are the corridors of freedom, Jozi@work, developing a smart city and the blue and green economies.

The Star


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