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DA at odds over Cape Town drought levy

The proposal has caused a major uproar from residents who will be levied based on the value of their homes.

FILE: Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille seen on Sunday, 3 December 2017, as the city installed water management devices at properties amid a drought. Picture: @PatriciaDeLille/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Western Cape appears to be at odds over whether the City of Cape Town should levy a drought charge to pay for water projects in the city.

The proposal has caused a major uproar from residents who will be levied based on the value of their homes.

Mayor Patricia de Lille says the charge is necessary to counter a loss of income as a result of people using and paying for less water.

But two of the DA’s executive structures in the province disagree, further exposing tensions within the party.

In December, the city’s DA caucus unanimously voted in favour of a proposal to introduce a drought charge from the first of February.

The approval is subject to a public participation process which has been extended to Monday.

But a month later, the DA’s metro executive, which also represents the city caucus, has done a U-turn.

It says the levy will be an undue burden on residents and the city needs to reprioritise its budget.

It’s asked the provincial executive to take up the matter.

But it now appears that the DA’s provincial executive committee (PEC) has already expressed its dissatisfaction.

In a letter to the city penned by DA provincial chairman and local government MEC Anton Bredell in December, he says it’s unfair for ratepayers to plug the gap for the city’s loss of income.

This week De Lille defended the charge.

“The money we used to get in for water, we used for maintenance and repairs to our reticulation system. Now we have a deficit in the city where we don't have the money to maintain our systems.”

The council is due to consider the proposal again at the end of January when it reviews the public comment and discusses its adjustments budget.

WATCH: What do Capetonians think of proposed drought tax?

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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