It’s an iniquitous scheme and a travesty of justice

Editor – The municipality announced its 50% incentive drive for ratepayers and consumers, which was voted for at its August meeting by the majority party (ANC) and the official opposition (IFP), together with the smaller parties.

The only party that voted against the motion was the Democratic Alliance (DA), as we believe it is an iniquitous scheme and a travesty of justice.

We believe it encourages ratepayers / consumers to not pay and wait to be handed over and then pay 50% of the capital amount, the legal fees, if any, which is paid either once-off or may be divided into six instalments and the balance of the principal amount of 50%, including all penalties and interest, is written off.

This incentive is not only restricted to rates, as it includes refuse and sundry debts, which has risen to R371.7 million at the end of August 2018, with a staggering R218.9 million outstanding for 365 days or more.

Ratepayers / consumers have until February 28, 2019, to apply for the incentive.

Despite the incentive being introduced some years ago, it has been without great success, except for benefiting a few. It has raised less than R2 million in any one financial year and has resulted in debt in excess of R2 million in principal debt, penalties and interest being written off.

Against the backdrop of the above scheme, faithful ratepayers who pay their dues monthly may only deduct 5% of the rates, excluding refuse, if paid in full for the entire year in advance by September 30, 2018.

These advance payments of over R10 million a year have boosted the cash flow of the municipality over the past few financial years, have been invested and have thereby contributed even further in investment returns to the fiscus of the municipality.

The DA is committed to redress the past and supports the poor and indigent through the Municipal Indigent policy, valuation threshold, rebates etc.
However, we do not wish to penalise the law-abiding ratepayers, as they have to carry the costs of the non-paying ratepayers and in turn have the poor suffer under bad service delivery due to lack of funding.

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  AUTHOR
Cllr MR Suddaby (DA Caucus leader)

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