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JHB residents urged to ‘budget for hefty bills’

Basic service costs are expected to skyrocket as of 1 July.

FILE: Lenasia residents show their council accounts, while demonstrating against houses built illegally in the area. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg residents have been urged to start budgeting for hefty municipal bills from July, when electricity tariffs are expected to rise by 12 percent.

Finance MMC Geoffrey Makhubo delivered the city's budget speech for the 2015/2016 financial year in Sandton on Tuesday.

He also announced a proposed six percent hike for property rates.

He said these increases were due to a number of internal and external factors, which could not be avoided.

Basic service costs are expected to go up from 1 July, with about a 10 percent increase on municipal bills.

This will be due to proposed hikes of 12 percent for electricity, six percent for rates, 14 percent for water and sanitation and eight percent for waste removal services.

Makhubo made it clear that the more you use, the more you'll pay.

"I want to emphasise that consumers can take steps within their households to reduce their monthly debts."

At the same time, the Johannesburg roads agency has been allocated R943 million to upgrade roads, specifically the M1, M2 and Soweto highways and the city has promised these won't be tolled.

CITY TO ALLOCATE R743M TO HEALTH

The finance MMC also announced that the city would be allocating R743 million to health department.

Several major hospitals operate in the city, specifically the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, which treats thousands of patients daily.

Concerns have been brought up about the state of the hospitals and clinics, not only in the city but also in the province.

Makhubo said they were budgeting a large amount for health to deal with various issues.

"Key projects funded include long and healthy lifestyles through programmes aimed at preventing chronic diseases."

At the same time, City Power will be given over R15 billion for the next financial year.

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