eThekwini residents to pay more for services

2015-05-28 08:01
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Durban – eThekwini Municipality residents will pay almost 7% more for rates, 10% more for water, and 12.9% more for electricity, Mayor James Nxumalo announced on Wednesday.

Sanitation services and rubbish removal will cost property owners almost 8% more, according to the R39.1bn budget for the 2015/2016 year.

Properties worth less than R185 000 will be exempt from rates.

Pensioners will receive a rates exemption on the first R120 000 value of their property.

Child-headed households, those on disability grants, and the medically boarded are exempt from paying rates on the first R460 000 of their property's value.

The city expects to spend R6bn on capital projects, the bulk of this on providing low-cost housing, infrastructure development, and road upgrades.

Electricity

The bulk of the R33.1bn operating budget, R12.5bn, will go to providing electricity services.

“Electrical services are provided to more than 700 000 customers within the city and surrounding areas. The electrification of rural and informal settlements programme will continue with new prepaid customer connections,” Nxumalo said.

A total of 30 000 informal settlement households will be connected to the power grid during the next financial year, at a cost of R11 500 per household.

“This will cost us R345m and people in the informal settlements will benefit, and they will experience a higher quality of life. Their children can now do their homework under human conditions,” Nxumalo said.

Mixed reaction

The budget received mixed reaction from opposition parties.

DA caucus leader Zwakele Mncwango said: “We don’t want gross mismanagement of the budget. We will only support it if what has been presented to us is going to be done.

"Spending and misspending of finances is on the rise in this city and the city has failed to hold people accountable in the past. We can’t support this budget because it goes against our values charter.”

Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay said the party was disappointed.

“We welcome the city’s social services and packages. However, they do not help disadvantaged people.

"Look at a pensioner living alone in an expensive house. They still have to pay rates. Tariff increases are going to hurt a lot of people in eThekwini. The increases are throwing people into darkness.”

Transparency

National Freedom Party councillor Thabani Mthethwa said: “This is the year of saying less and doing more. We have a role to play in what is happening in our city.

"It doesn’t help to allocate all of this money and not use the money correctly. We want the city to go back to a transparent way of handling the housing allocation. With that said, we support the budget.”

Inkatha Freedom Party councillor Jay Naidoo said, while the party supported the budget, money needed to be used innovatively.

“There is a lack of big investment into this city. We need to start thinking out of the box. Achieving national norms is not the solution. It is time to focus on the funds that will benefit the hearts of the city.”

ANC councillor Nigel Gumede accused opposition parties of being against development.

Read more on:    james nxumalo  |  durban  |  local government  |  rates  |  electricity

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