The struggle continues as Joburg municipal rates, bus fare hikes kick in

In Johannesburg, residents will be paying more for municipal services including water refuse removal and electricity.

Consumers will feel the pinch as the new municipal rates increases for the 2019/2020 financial year kick in.  This also means food prices will also go up as a result. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – As South Africans grapple with the pressures of a struggling economy, they are set to face even more increases starting on Monday.

In Johannesburg, residents will be paying more for municipal services, including water refuse removal and electricity.

Bus fares are also going up.

The City of Joburg's Mayoral Committee Member for Finance Funzela Ngobeni said: “We do really sympathise with our residents; everything seems to be going up in South Africa, not only the City of Johannesburg.

“The increases just add on top of everything. We had to play a very balancing act, a very delicate one; we’re obligated to render services to our residents continuously.”

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With the country's unemployment rate sitting at over 27% and many companies laying off staff households are becoming even more burdened by the high cost of living.

At 88-years-old, the last thing Grace Vilakazi should be worried about is her livelihood and that of her large family.

Vilakazi barely gets by on her monthly pension grant of R1,800 which she has to stretch between her five grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She relies heavily on donations from the community, including NGOs but often has to resort to desperate measures.

“I’m now forced to ask the people for money to buy bread so that I can feed my family.”

Linda Twala is in charge of the NGO Phuthaditjhaba Care of the Aged. He said the donations that they depend on are few and far between.

“I so wish I could get other people who can follow suit and join me in doing what I can for the senior citizens.”

With the country facing tough economic times and rising costs passed down to consumers, the situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.

For the 2019/2020 financial year, the following municipal tariffs have been increased:

  • Water by 9,9%,

  • Property rates by 5,5%,

  • Electricity by 13,07%,

  • Refuse removal by 7%

  • Rea Yava bus fares by 7%.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)