iLembe addresses sewerage tariff queries

2017-06-21 06:02

THE recent decision by the iLembe District Municipality to revert to sewer tariffs being determined by property valuation instead of using the water consumption method, has raised question in the community. Residents are concerned that monthly sewerage charges will be exorbitant on properties of higher valuation.
Speaking to the Weekly, one resident said they do not actually understand how the sewerages charges will be calculated. The recent 10% increase in tariffs has added to the concerns and left many residents confused.

DA caucus leader Madhun Sing said the DA has over the years proposed for sewer tariffs to be based on valuation of property rather than consumption based and now council is in the process of adopting the valuation system.

“We have no problem with it. However council must consider the impact of the charges especially to households valued up to a million. You cannot kill the goose that lays the golden egg. These are your revenue support base. The tariff charge definitely has to be re-looked at addressing serious shortcomings.

“In fact the 10% increase should be a maximum threshold in relation to the sewer rate currently being paid 50% on the water consumption and basic charge. On property valuation previously it was always much cheaper than the consumption based tariff and that should be the case now.”

Responding to these queries, acting chief financial officer for iLembe District Municipality Emmanuel Ngcobo explained that during the 2014/15 financial period, iLembe District Municipality moved from the valuation method to the water consumption based method of determining sewer charges.
“One of the reason thereof was the directive from Treasury to have water and sanitation cost reflective in terms of expenditure incurred and through their respective circulars applicable at the time.” However, he said, during public meetings, the community had raised that the water consumption method was expensive and was simply unaffordable.

“This was decreased from the initial 70% to 50% in 2015/2016 to respond to the ‘unaffordable’ sewer charges. Furthermore, consumers complained of excessive ‘after billing’ that is reading of meters after months have passed.

“This proved in numbers as the debt book of the municipality did increase and the collection rated decreased.”

Ngcobo said the district municipality is now reverting to the valuation method as it does prove to be economical and affordable. “With this method, the latest valuation rolls have been imported from the local municipalities.

“The sanitation charges are at a respectable value and have been made affordable to categories of consumers. The impact has been revised and the different values have also been looked at in terms of affordability.”
He added, the indigent consumers will obtain the first R130 000 exempt from calculations.
“There are different tariffs for the various categories, business, welfare, indigent, commercial and industrial as well as residential.”
Ngcobo said the concerns of the residents have been considered as well and the tariff and its structure has been revised to an affordable and fixed based rate. “On another note, on the valuation method, there is no basic charge for sanitation charges/levies.”

The sanitation charges are at a respectable value and have been made affordable to categories of consumers. The impact has been revised and the different values have also been looked at in terms of affordability.

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