The Stellenbosch Municipality has announced the suspension of rates collection for business and households impacted by the Covid-19.
The municipality made the announcement after its council convened an emergency meeting on Wednesday where it was decided that the collection of property rates for businesses and households within the municipal boundaries that have been adversely impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19 should be suspended.
The DA’s constituency head in the council Leon Schreiber said this decision by the “DA-led” municipality “is blazing a trail of good governance to put residents first in the face of the Covid-19 crisis”.
“The payment holiday will last for three months. Once the crisis is over, the municipality will work with applicants to repay the principal outstanding debt on reasonable terms and without the accrual of any new interest. As a responsible custodian of public money, Stellenbosch Municipality will only grant the rates payment holiday to businesses, farms, and industrial enterprises that, upon formal application, can prove that their income has been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“The same application process will apply to individuals. Rate payments for all households with individuals who lose their job as a result of the crisis will also be paused for three months, and no interest will be charged,” Schreiber said.
Schreiber said the municipality had also temporarily suspended all credit control measures until at least the end of April, or until the countrywide lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa ends if it extends beyond the end of April.
“This is to ensure that residents are not cut off from critical services like electricity and that they have enough cash on hand to weather the lockdown and the economic storm. The municipality will continue to investigate other possibilities for debt relief measures as the situation develops. Normal debt collection measures will resume afterwards.
“The council further resolved to increase the amount of free water allocated to indigent households from 6 kilolitres to 10 kilolitres per month. This is to ensure that all households have enough water to ensure adequate sanitation. The way in which the residents of Stellenbosch and surrounding towns worked with the municipality to stave-off a water crisis in 2018, has helped the municipality to now support the health and sanitation of our most vulnerable residents at this time of crisis,” said Schreiber.
Schreiber said it was shocking that both the ANC and EFF voted against the relief measures for residence.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)