CoJ Budget a balancing act focusing on impact of COVID – local govt specialist

While the city announced rates and taxes increases during Tuesday’s Budget release, it has also emphasised its commitment to providing struggling residents with debt relief.

Late Joburg Mayor Jodilee Matongo. Picture: @MatongoMmc/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - A local government specialist said on Tuesday the Joburg Metro’s Budget was a balancing act with a focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the city announced rates and taxes increases during Tuesday’s Budget release, it has also emphasised its commitment to providing struggling residents with debt relief.

Joburg’s Finance MMC Jolidee Matongo said the city had started the rollout of the improved debt rehabilitation programme, which was approved by the council last month.

Residents in different municipalities across the country have been struggling to settle their bills but the situation has worsened due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

The scheme provides amnesty to property owners whose municipal accounts are in arrears for more than three months and those who wish to bring their accounts back to date.

Group chief advisor at Ntiyiso Consulting Miyelani Holeni explained why the programme was commendable: “Within the COVID transition, there are businesses and there are residents that have been affected badly such that they would need some kind of relief. So, the other side is the major relief scheme for businesses to get a holiday from paying, which was something that was done over three months.”

Matongo has encouraged his fellow councillors to go back to their communities and reassure residents that the debt rehabilitation programme was not designed to catch them out for non-payment.

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.