Joburg rates increases kick in on Thursday while residents struggle financially

City Power customers will now pay a whopping 14.6% more for electricity, water and sanitation will now cost 6.8% more, while refuse removal is going up by 4.3% and property rates by 2%.

FILE: Picture: 123rf.com

Joburg residents will have to fork out more in municipal bills from today with new rates kicking in. But many residents are concerned they won't be able to meet their financial obligations.

City Power customers will now pay a whopping 14.6% more for electricity, water and sanitation will now cost 6.8% more, while refuse removal is going up by 4.3% and property rates by 2%.

With a contracted economy, more job losses and a pandemic on our hands, these increases couldn't have come at a worse time with residents already financially stretched to the limit.

But the the city's MMC for Finance Jolidee Matongo said they were already cushioning some of the impact implementing lower rates than what was proposed.

“We are trying as the city to meet the resident halfway, but what is critical is that the bulk of the budget, for us as a municipality, to run the city and to provide the services comes from the rates and taxes that are paid,” he said.

Amos Monyela, COSATU Gauteng chairman, said they're disappointed that government is forging ahead with these increases at a time when the working class is broke.

“The working class and workers are at the receiving end of poor policy directions of the state as well as corruption in the state. So, they are paying for the deed they did not do,” he said.

Many people face the prospect of going another year without a salary increase this year, due to the financial impact of the pandemic with businesses trying to cut costs - including bonuses.

ILLEGAL CONNECTIONS MIGHT INCREASE AS WELL

With City Power customers having to pay a whopping 14.6% more for their electricity from Thursday, there are warnings the hike will likely lead to more illegal connections with many unable to pay.

Eskom demanded an increase of more than 15% and City Power said it had to pass it on to customers with electricity going up by 14.6%.

The city has urged residents not to go the illegal route of bypassing service providers and connecting themselves to the grid.

“We really want to advise residents not to resort to illegal connections. Where people can’t afford to pay for the services, we ask them to contact our customer centres,” Matongo said.

Cosatu in Gauteng's chairperson Amos Monyela said government would have to account if people simply couldn't afford to pay their increased municipal bill.

“People are not going to pay, people are going to go to illegal connections, and this is going to be overburden Eskom."

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