No more free water for Joburg residents

Residents will pay 12,2 per cent more for water and 2,28 per cent more for electricity from 1 July when the City’s new tariff structure kicks in.

The city council approved the tariff increase at the 30 March council meeting after the proposed tariffs were tabled for public consultation.

An additional R40 increase will also be added to residents’ water bill from July.

Only households registered with the City’s expanded social package programme will receive between 10 and 15 kilolitres of free water a month.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said it is the trend across the country’s metros to no longer provide free water to all residents, but only to registered indigent residents.

This is in line with the National Water Policy as recommended by the National Treasury.

“Given the scarcity of water in Johannesburg, the huge inequality in our city, and the massive infrastructure and service delivery backlog, we believe it is in the best interest of our residents to follow this national trend,” he said.

The City will – after this move – be able to generate around R320 million more in revenue on an annual basis.

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Mashaba said this will be invested back into local communities for better service delivery and infrastructure.

“There is a great deal that we can do with an additional R320 million in revenue. It could be used to build an additional 2 597 housing units or to electrify an additional 70 informal settlements. It can also be used to extend operating hours at an additional 61 clinics.

“The new administration is unapologetically pro-poor and this is an essential step to ensure that we protect the poorest residents in our city while ensuring that we increase revenue to speed up service delivery and improve infrastructure in our City. We are currently sitting with an estimated R170 billion infrastructure backlog.”

Refuse removal tariffs will also increase by 6,1 per cent and property rates by 6,2 per cent.

The City’s aspiration to increase its revenue and grow its economy have been halted by the recent credit rating downgrade on South Africa by Standard and Poor’s.

Mashaba announced that the City was under review for a downgrade because of its close financial and operational ties with provincial and national government.

The MMC for Finance, Dr Rabelani Dagada, said he feared that revenue will decrease since residents might not be able to pay increased rates and taxes, ultimately resulting in capital flight and little economic growth.

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  AUTHOR
Chantelle Fourie
Metro Reporter

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