Durban to be hit with highest service tariff hikes

2014-05-26 00:00

DURBAN consumers will be hit with the highest refuse water, and rates increases this year compared with Johannesburg and Cape Town, when the draft municipal budget gets approved on Thursday.

And while the proposed average electricity tariff of 7,39% is only slightly above inflation, The Witness has established that the average increase that Durbanites have been paying is much more than inflation, at 18,3% annually, over seven years.

The tariff for refuse removal is expected to rise by 7,9%, compared with 5,87% in Cape Town and six percent in Johannesburg, while rates are expected to increase 6.9%, compared with six percent in Cape Town and five percent in Johannesburg.

Krish Kumar, deputy city manager, treasury, on Friday briefed the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry members on the draft budget.

DCCI executive director Andrew Layman said there were “weaknesses” in the budget, but that this was normal for a local government the size of Durban, and the budget reflects a city that “continues to be well managed”.

The city blames the weak economy and “external financial pressure on services” that had made tariff increases above the inflation rate “inevitable”.

Kumar said another reason why the electricity price increase was above inflation, is that there was a R400 million drop in demand for electricity due to the continuing weak economy and electricity savings by consumers.

DA eThekwini spokesperson Peter Davis said they believed the tariffs were “generally reasonable”, although there were problems with some of the rates, such as the higher increase in water tariffs for businesses, which discourages job creation.

He said the party had only once voted to approve an eThekwini budget in more than a decade, and a caucus meeting would be held this week to decide how it would vote.

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