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Thursday Jun 18, 2015

Joburg takes pity on pensioner ratepayers

From July 1, pensioners in and around Joburg will be given a financial reprieve with property rates, tariffs and rebates.

The council's Kgamanyane Maphologela said they had made some significant improvements to ensure that pensioners would benefit from rebates on their properties. "We understand the harsh economic pressures facing our pensioners, hence we seek to provide some relief."

Maphologela said the city had taken into account the present unfavourable economic conditions and the high cost of living. "We are being sensitive to the needs of the customers and to increase the number of pensioners who qualify for the property rates rebates," he added.

Pensioner owners whose gross monthly household income is lower than R7 850 (up from R7 406 last year) and whose property value is not more than R2 million qualify for a 100 percent rebate.

Pensioner owners who are 70 or older, irrespective of their income, and who stay in a property worth not more than R2m, qualify for 100 percent rebates too.

The decision was made after the city held public consultations with ratepayers early in the year. "We decided to increase the pensioners' income level requirement, ensuring that more pensioners now qualify."

Maphologela said increases across the board for property rates, tariffs, electricity and water would also be implemented on July 1. Property rates and tariffs would be hiked by 6 percent; electricity 12.19 percent, which is lower than the tariff increase of 12.69 percent announced by Eskom and electricity regulator Nersa; water tariffs by 14 percent; and refuse removal by 8 percent.

Criteria to qualify for rebates

The pensioners who qualify for the property rates rebate are:

  • Pensioner owners, who are at least 60 years old, whose gross monthly household income is lower than R7 850 (up from R7 406 last year), with a property value not more than R2 million get 100 percent rebates.

  • Pensioner owners whose gross monthly household income is higher than R7 850 (an increase from R7 406 last year) but less than or equal to R13 458 (an increase from R12 696 last year), qualify for a 50 percent rebate, provided the pensioner is at least 60 years of age.

  • Pensioner owners who are 70 and above irrespective of income and stay in a property valued at not more than R2m qualify for 100 percent rebates.

    The pensioner rebate applies to residential properties owned and occupied by pensioners. The rebate also applies to property owners who have become pensioners due to injury.

    A property owner in this category must apply for the council's approval of a rebate on a form prescribed by the council, accompanied by their most recent income tax assessment issued by the South African Revenue Service or other proof of income acceptable to the council.

    A rebate will be granted for a maximum duration of the valuation roll provided that the financial status of the beneficiary does not change within the period.

    The rebate is applied from the date of application. No retrospective rebates will be granted.

    The Star

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